Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Hispanic Caucus picks favorites in California House races (updated)

Emergency room physician Raul Ruiz is running against Republican incumbent Mary Bono-Mack in a Coachella Valley district that includes Palm Springs.

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus is ostensibly a bi-partisan body that in the past has had Republican members. But it has none at the moment, so it's no surprise that the caucus’ political action committee is spending money on two races where Democratic Latino challengers are facing off against vulnerable Republicans.

The Committee for Hispanic Causes/Building our Leadership Diversity PAC, or CHC BOLD PAC, sent $10,000 apiece to emergency room doctor Raul Ruiz, who is running against Palm Springs Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack, and former astronaut Jose Hernandez, who is challenging Fresno Republican Jeff Denham. 

In a race for an open seat, L.A. City Councilman Tony Cardenas got $6,000. He's running against David Hernandez, who heads the San Fernando Chamber of Commerce and is running as an independent. In the June primary, Cardenas finished well ahead of Hernandez, 64% to 22%.

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Can the growing California Latino voting population swing House races?

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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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