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Campaign 2014: Former CA Lawmaker Ray Haynes Considering Run for Congress

By on January 6, 2014
Ray Haynes

Former California state lawmaker Ray Haynes is considering a run for Congress.

In an email announcement to supporters, the conservative Republican, who chaired the Taxpayer Protection Caucus during his time in the legislature, said that he’s considering a challenge to Democrat Raul Ruiz in the 36th congressional district.

“It is rare that a Congressional seat comes up that is ripe for the taking by a Republican (especially here in California), and is occupied by a Democrat,” Haynes wrote in the email announcement. “I used to represent the western portion of that district, and I know its concerns well. More important, I believe it is a district that wants a conservative Republican as its representative.”

In 2012, Ruiz defeated Republican incumbent Rep. Mary Bono Mack by 6 percent.  At the time, the district was nearly dead-even in voter registration. In addition to a strong turnout year for Democrats, Bono Mack had earned a reputation as having grown disconnected from the district. Those factors, Republican campaigners say, make the district an ideal pick-up opportunity in the fall.

“The time to win the 36th Congressional district is this year, and so, if I am to re-engage in politics, this would be the time to do so,” Haynes wrote.

CD 36: GOP +1.3 Voter Registration Advantage

36th CA Congressional DistrictSince 2012, Republicans have reclaimed a voter registration advantage in the district. According to voter registration data from Political Data, California’s largest provider of voter information, Republicans maintain a +1.3% advantage with 109,602 registered voters. A third of the district is over 65, and roughly 21% of the district is independent.

Ruiz has proven to be a fundraising star in his first term. The Palm Desert Democrat has raised more than a million dollars for his 2014 campaign with $875,932 cash on hand, according to his October 2013 Quarterly Report filed with the Federal Election Commission.

Nevertheless, election analysts say that Ruiz will face a challenging re-election.

“To keep the seat in the off-year, Ruiz needs to see strong voter turnout, hold all the Democrats who voted for him in 2012, and also to grab a slightly larger share of independent voters,” observes Scott Lay in his race analysis published at “The seat will likely be the second highest pick-up priority in California for House Republicans, behind only Scott Peters’s CD52.”

According to Time’s Swampland blog, the seat is considered a “toss-up” with a “R+1″ rating by the Cook Political Report.

Nestande vs. Haynes: Taxes Likely to Be Issue

In order to reclaim the district for Republicans, Haynes will need to get past Assemblyman Brian Nestande, a moderate Republican who has already announced his campaign for the Riverside County-based seat. Under California’s new Top 2 primary rules, it is unlikely that both Republicans would make the run-off.

Brian NestandeA primary match-up between Haynes and Nestande would largely center on Nestande’s moderate record in the state legislature, including a controversial vote to raise taxes. In August 2012, Nestande was the only Republican lawmaker to support a proposal to raise taxes to fund college scholarships. Assembly Bill 1500, sponsored by Assembly Speaker John Perez, would have changed corporate tax rates, resulting in an additional $1 billion per year in taxes paid by out-of-state businesses, according to the Sacramento Bee.

The bill was opposed by the state’s leading taxpayer organizations, including the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.

“While we recognize that tuition at California State Universities has more then doubled over the prior decade, increasing taxes on business only ensures that these new graduates will not have jobs in exchange for slightly smaller tuition rates,” David Wolfe, legislative director for the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, wrote in opposition to the bill. “This bill doesn’t seem like a fair trade for them.”

Nestande resigned his post as Assembly Republican Caucus chairman immediately following the vote.

The 36th congressional district consists of the eastern portion of Riverside County. “This district,” as described by the  California Redistricting Commission, “is characterized by shared tourism interests, bedroom communities of Coachella Valley, retirement communities, Indian lands, entertainment/economic interests of casinos and low desert geographic integrity is maintained for shared water interests.”

August 2013 Voter Registration Numbers for CA 36th Congressional District

Voters Houses
TOTAL 276,296 168,672
DEMOCRATS 105,987 76,807
REPUBLICANS 109,602 77,753
ALL OTHER (NOT DEM OR REP) 60,707 50,109
INDEPENDENT 57,884 48,031
PURE DEM 75,551 53,185
PURE GOP 80,537 54,360
AGE 18-24 24,220 20,732
AGE 25-34 35,984 29,828
AGE 35-44 32,779 27,160
AGE 45-54 42,178 35,224
AGE 55-64 48,213 40,159
AGE 65+ 92,922 69,631
HOMEOWNER 160,162 101,525
LATINO 73,251 46,936

Source: Political Data, Voter Count

February 2013 Voter Registration Numbers for CA 36th Congressional District

 Total  Democrat  GOP  American. Independent  DTS
Riverside 290,264 113,570 112,389 8,940 50,198
   Percent 39.13% 38.72% 3.08% 17.29%

Source: California Secretary of State, February 10, 2013 – Report of Registration

Ray Haynes Email Announcement

Subject: I would like your input

Dear Friend

I am sending this to you because you have supported me in my political efforts in the past. I have taken time off from the political scene to work in the private sector (and become a profit center for government, and not a cost of doing business, that is, I was paying money to the government instead of being paid by the government), but over the last couple of years I have found myself becoming more and more frustrated by what is going on in Washington.

I became a Republican because I believe in the Republican principles of freedom, free enterprise, small government, and lower taxes. I came to the Republican party during the Reagan years, before I got involved in politics, because I believed in the principles that Reagan espoused. Before I heard him talking about those principles, I didn’t know what they were. When I heard him talking about them, they made sense, and I became convinced that the lives of every American would be better if we implemented those principles.

Lately, I think Republicans have forgotten his words, and those principles. For that reason, I have decided to re-engage in the political process.

It is rare that a Congressional seat comes up that is ripe for the taking by a Republican (especially here in California), and is occupied by a Democrat. However, in 2012, Mary Bono lost her seat, the 36th Congressional district, to a liberal Democrat, Raul Ruiz, and that seat is one that is winnable by Republicans in the upcoming election, provided the right Republican is on the ballot in November.

I believe I am that right Republican, and I am looking seriously at running for that seat. I used to represent the western portion of that district, and I know its concerns well. More important, I believe it is a district that wants a conservative Republican as its representative. I believe I can bring that district into the Republican column in 2014.

That is why I am looking for your input. I would like to know what you think: (1) do you think Republicans in Washington are actually representing the principles you and I believe in; (2) Do you think I could do a good job of representing those principles; (3) Do you think I should run? (4) Would you support me if I do run? Winning campaigns are built on wide spread support from different areas. You have been a part of my team in the past, and your support would be critical to a victory in June and then in November.

Quite frankly, I could live the rest of my life, never be in Congress, and believe that I have done well by my neighbors during my time in politics. However, there are times when I believe I can be value added to the country, my state, my county, and my neighbors by giving voice to their concerns and their needs in the political arena. The time to win the 36th Congressional district is this year, and so, if I am to re-engage in politics, this would be the time to do so. That is why I am looking at this seat now.

Please let me know what you think. Your opinion is important to me.

Ray Haynes
California Senate Republican Whip
California Assembly Assistant Republican Leader
California State Senator 1994-2002
California State Assemblyman 1992-94, 2002-06



About John Hrabe

John Hrabe spends his time traveling the world as a freelance journalist. When he isn’t on an international flight, John writes about state and national politics for,, Huffington Post and the editorial pages of the Orange County Register. John’s most recent high-profile investigation uncovered the questionable labor practices of Goodwill Industries, the nonprofit organization famous for its secondhand clothing stores.


  1. Richard Rider

    January 7, 2014 at 5:14 pm

    If it were 2016 when all the bubbleheads turn out to vote, than perhaps a RINO Republican is the best that can be hoped for in this district. But in 2014 with the Obamacare disaster? I think not.

    It’s time for limited government champion Ray Haynes to go to Washington to do what he can to cut back the fiscal insanity.

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