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Ruiz confident he'll represent the 36th Congressional District

By Megan Terlecky, Anchor / Reporter, megan.terlecky@cbslocal2.com
Published On: Nov 07 2012 07:48:28 PM CST
Updated On: Nov 08 2012 01:08:13 PM CST

congress reaction

PALM DESERT, Calif. -

With approximately 105,000 vote-by-mail ballots, 60,000 provisional and 18,000 damaged ballots to be counted, the 36th Congressional race is far from over. However Democratic challenger Dr. Raul Ruiz believes voter have spoken, all but declaring victory Wednesday afternoon.

Late Tuesday night Ruiz addressed supporters without knowing who will represent the 36th Congressional District. Wednesday, he echoed his remarks, thanking supporters.

"The supporters who went out and made all of those phone calls and knocked on all of those doors and volunteered their time and gave people rides, I am very proud of them," said Ruiz.

As of Wednesday afternoon Ruiz is in the lead and he believes it will stay that way.

"We are very happy and motivated to get some work done in the district and start the plan to implement the vision that we have for our district," said Ruiz.

When Ruiz began the campaign, experts believed he was a long shot.

"Its a very surreal experience to be a native from Coachella Valley, son of farm workers, to now soon-to-be a Congressman, and to be able to stand up for the people that I care about, the people that are here in this district, our neighbors, our community members, and make sure that everyone has a voice in our democratic process and everybody is apart of our American story," said Ruiz.

There are over a 180,000 ballots in the county still being counted.  We haven't been told how many are in the 36th District, but it could be more than what currently separates Ruiz and Mary Bono Mack.  Despite that, Ruiz is very confident.

"We are very happy with the results and I am looking forward to really bringing the community together," said Ruiz.
 
So far Incumbent Republican Mary Bono Mack has been silent.  However, her campaign did release this statement:

        "With more than 180,000 ballots still to be counted around Riverside County, it is premature to consider any election results final. Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack and her campaign will be awaiting the impact of this large number of remaining ballots before making any further statements on the 36th Congressional District race."

Ruiz says he is waiting for Bono Mack to concede the race.

"I am looking forward to the phone call," said Ruiz.

Regardless of who is the final victor, there is no question this district is divided and it will take a lot of work to bring the community together.

"I feel very proud of everybody who participated and voted, and I also look forward to reaching out to all of Mary Bono Mack's supporters and ensuring them that they too will have a voice and they too will be represented and I will represent a 100 percent of this district," said Ruiz.

As a Congressmen, Ruiz promises to always keep his door open.

"I don't care if you are R or D, I care if you have a good idea, and if you have a good idea come on lets talk about it and then lets see if we can implement that," said Ruiz.

Again News Channel 3 and CBS Local 2 News have not called this race. We are still waiting for the final ballots to be counted.  Those numbers are expected to be released Thursday at 6pm.