The National Republican Congressional Committee officially does not pick favorites in party primaries. But it’s hard to deny the early interest the GOP’s campaign arm has taken in Assemblyman Brian Nestande.
Flash forward two months, and party leaders have a different narrative.
“Republicans and Brian Nestande are entering the election year with momentum from strong fundraising and organization in 2013 that will allow them to capitalize on California voters’ desire for new leadership to guide them toward fresh ideas and out of this stagnant Obama-economy,” Walden said in a recent news release about the “State of Play” in the 36th Congressional race.
Nestande is trying to unseat Rep. Raul Ruiz in a campaign that will inevitably dominate the Coachella Valley’s political story lines.
Figures released by the campaigns earlier this month show Ruiz continues to hold the fundraising advantage, ending 2013 with almost four times more in the bank than his Republican challenger.
Ruiz raised about $413,000 between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31, while Nestande raised nearly $230,000, their respective campaigns announced.
After expenses, Ruiz had almost $1.2 million in the bank and Nestande had about $302,000.
Ruiz and Nestande were expected to be the only contenders on the ballot. However a second Republican, former state lawmaker Ray Haynes of Murrieta, is considering joining the race.