Raul Ruiz widens fundraising lead over Brian Nestande

October 15th, 2013 | by Erica Felci | Comments

Ruiz, left, and Nestande

Ruiz, left, and Nestande

Rep. Raul Ruiz has widened his financial advantage over state Assemblyman Brian Nestande, new campaign fundraising reports show.

Ruiz, a Palm Desert Democrat, raised $322,183 between July 1 and Sept. 30, ending the quarter with $875,933 in cash on hand.

Nestande, meanwhile, raised $76,872 — about half of what he had the previous three months — and had $150,584 left in the bank after expenses.

“As an emergency room physician, Dr. Ruiz is doing what Californians sent him to Washington to do; work together to solve problems,” Ruiz campaign spokesman Roy Behr said in a statement Tuesday.

“That’s exactly why he has so much support.”

The fundraising report was released the same day that Nestande formally hit the campaign trail.

The Palm Desert Republican is the only one to step forward to challenge Rep. Raul Ruiz, a Democrat in his first year in the House.

About 45 people, including a number of local Republican elected leaders, showed their support by gathering at Renova Solar in Palm Desert.

“I have seen first-hand how overreaching government policies are hurting California families,” Nestande said in a statement Tuesday. “This government shutdown is the perfect example of why Washington needs fresh voices and perspective to move our country forward.

“I’m running for Congress because I understand what needs to be done to bring people to the table, work together, and negotiate to solve the problems affecting our country.”

PHOTOS: Brian Nestande announces run for Congress

It has all the makings of a great campaign:

Nestande, a former political consultant, has spent the last five years in Sacramento and has solid name recognition. Ruiz, a political novice, gained national attention in the last election by ousting Nestande’s political ally and one-time boss, then-Rep. Mary Bono.

But competitive races are expensive.

And Nestande’s fundraising figures have continued to lag behind Ruiz’s numbers.

When the second quarter reports showed Nestande had raised $144,859 to Ruiz’s $423,418, Nestande’s campaign consultant Jason Roe noted that the Assemblyman had yet to hire a fundraiser.

In the three months since, Nestande actually raised less than expected. Ruiz now has more than $725,000 more in the bank than Nestande does.

After this morning’s kickoff, Nestande planned to head west and start a listening tour with an event at Coyne Powersports in Banning.

If the business sounds familiar to political watchers, it’s because Bono had talked about Coyne Powersports during her 2012 televised debate with Ruiz.

Her critics later questioned the reference, as business had moved out of the Coachella Valley by the time that debate happened and was actually not in the congressional district that Bono was representing.

Thanks to redistricting, the Banning pass is now in the 36th Congressional seat.

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