Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Democratic PAC to target San Bernardino Congressman Gary Miller in 2014

Rep. Gary Miller (R-San Bernardino)

Dennis Cook/AP

Longtime Republican Congressman Gary Miller (R-San Bernardino) is on a Democratic PAC list of vulnerable districts in the 2014 election.

Believe it or not, the 2014 election season is already heating up. A Democratic political action committee has picked its top ten Republican House targets for next year. One is a San Bernardino Congressman who's served on the Hill since 1999.

Gary Miller represented Diamond Bar for a dozen years. New Congressional boundaries put him in the same district as another GOP stalwart, Ed Royce. So, last year, Miller ran — and won — in the newly- drawn 31st district in San Bernardino.

Andy Stone with the Democratic House Majority PAC calls Miller "the most endangered Republican incumbent in the entire country." Stone says Miller's new district is "overwhelmingly Democratic," with a large Latino population. Voter registration in the district does favor Democrats, though there is a large contingent of people who claim a third party or none at all. 

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Battle of political ads amps up in Palm Springs Congressional race

What's a campaign to do when the race is getting tight and you've got money to spend in a California media market that's somewhat affordable? Start running lots of negative ads.

Two new spots have just hit the airwaves in the Coachella Valley Congressional race between Republican incumbent Mary Bono Mack and her Democratic challenger, Dr. Raul Ruiz.

The House Majority PAC, a Democratic political action committee, is running a week's worth of TV ads in the Palm Springs market, aimed at Mack. She's married to a fellow member of Congress from Florida (and U.S. Senate candidate), Connie Mack. The ad accuses her of forgetting about the Coachella Valley and taking advantage of a tax exemption for Florida residents.

On the tax exemption charge, the Bono Mack campaign points to an article in the Tampa Bay Times' fact-checking operation, PolitiFact. The charge stems from the unusual marital geography of Bono Mack and her husband. Both own homes in their own states. Both claim homestead exemptions, which translate into a tax break. You're only allowed one per household, but since both file taxes separately and hold title to their respective residences in their own name, the local Florida county appraiser's office gave his blessing to the exemption.

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Can the growing California Latino voting population swing House races?

Mercer 1255

NASA

Former NASA Astronaut Jose Hernandez is running for Congress as a Democrat in a Central Valley district with a growing Latino population.

Could the record number of eligible Latino voters tip the November election in some California Congressional races? Maybe.

Earlier this week, the Pew Hispanic Center reported that the number of Latinos who are eligible to vote has jumped 22 percent from 2008. That's got the attention of candidates at all levels.

Amid ads for the two Presidential candidates, you might stumble onto one for a Congressional race, funded by the Democratic House Majority PAC. In one instance, an ad depicts a star-filled sky above a farm field. The voiceover in Spanish says: "A boy from the valley saw the stars. He saw men go to the moon and dreamed. Jose Hernandez lived his dream."

Former astronaut Hernandez is trying to unseat freshman Republican Congressman Jeff Denham in the Central Valley. The district is split almost evenly between Democrats and Republicans, though pollsters say it leans Republican. The district has a growing number of Latino residents — 40 percent of the population vs 46 percent Anglo. 

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