In a newly drawn congressional district, will the race boil down to Ruiz versus Garcia? [Opinion]

Democratic Congressman Raul Ruiz, M.D., may have thought that former Republican Assemblymember Bonnie Garcia might challenge him for a Congressional seat one day.

But it isn’t the one-time, three-term Assemblymember Bonnie Garcia that Dr. Ruiz is hearing could be his opponent.

It’s Eddie Garcia who resides in Coachella and is a member of the Democratic Party. Garcia will have just one term left after this next election and it may be the end of his career in Democratic party politics.

Enter redistricting, required every 10 years in all 50 states. Ruiz has seen his district sliced and diced by the nonpartisan redistricting committee. He wants to move into the new district. Safe to say this is a Democrat seat and the only battle to win will be in a primary fight between Democrats.

Garcia has served in the city of Coachella, represents the city in Sacramento, and owes his political career to County Supervisor V. Manuel Perez.

Perez was Ed Garcia’s boss while Garcia was on his Assembly staff. Garcia is a top fund raiser and would be a formidable opponent for Dr. Ruiz. He’s a good campaigner and strategist.

Congressman Ruiz is targeted by the Republican Party. He expected that and as such, has millions in his campaign funds that might be too much for Garcia to match.

Ruiz’s old seat will go Red! Current Congressman Ken Calvert could end up representing what was portions of the old Ruiz territory. Calvert is a major player in D.C. and as the Dean of California’s delegation in D.C. will be tough to beat. He’s a leader, takes care of his district, and is likely to be a chair of a committee when, as many believe, the House returns to red-party leadership.

Should Ruiz prevail in the primary, he wins the seat. That means Garcia is the odd man out if he challenged Ruiz and lost. If that happens, he would be a likely candidate to serve in the Biden Administration. He’s highly regarded in Democratic circles and he’s also a solid fundraiser.

Ruiz was an outsider within the desert’s Democrats when he thumped Mary Bono and stole a seat believed to have been solidly red.

For those who enjoy collegiate rivalry, Ruiz is a UCLA grad and Garcia is a USC grad.  In this matchup, it will be a close battle, but UCLA fans might just take this one. Maybe the Assemblymember doesn’t run in the primary. If that’s the case, he coasts to another victory in his Assembly District and continues in leadership within the Assembly and his party.

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