Physician Raul Ruiz defeated incumbent Mary Bono Mack in 2012 during a year in which stars aligned for California Democrats. Democrats won all contested seats except one (CD10), and CD36 was one of the most difficult.
This sprawling district stretches from Hemet to the Arizona border and includes pockets of both significant (and seasonal) wealth and deep poverty.
However, the perception that Mary Bono Mack had become quite disconnected from the district found resonance with voters who had been deeply hurt by the sustained recession. Bono Mack, who was elected to the seat following the death of her then-husband Sonny Bono, was on the ballot at the same time as her husband Congressman Connie Mack, who unsuccessfully sought a U.S. Senate seat in Florida. Aside from the jet-setting part-time residents of the resort communities, the concept of a bi-coastal household just didn't play well.
In likely GOP candidate Brian Nestande, Raul Ruiz will have a much more difficult tim . . .