The Inland Empire was painted a Democratic blue this past election, a region that in the past has been known to vote Republican red. Districts in the Inland Empire shuttled California Democrats such as Mark Takano and Dr. Raul Ruiz to the state assembly and Gloria Negrete McLeod to the state senate. By hitting the two-thirds threshold, Democrats have now obtained a supermajority in the state legislature—the first time since 1883.
The 2002 Census, led to a new redistricting measure, which greatly encouraged bipartisan gerrymandering, guaranteeing little to no competitive election for each California district. It even ensured that the incumbent party won all but one of the 265 newly-drawn congressional election districts.
To counter such practices, Californians voted Proposition 20 into law, which permitted the California Citizens Redistricting Commission to draw equally-proportioned districts. As a result, Democrat-dubbed their campaign as “Battleground California: Democrats on Offense,” which signified the political shift in many districts.
In Riverside, Ontario and Cathedral City, the Latino population is close to or over half the total population. Based their past voting behavior, Latinos are more prone to vote Democrat, which has led to an expected electoral shift in these cities. According to the 2010 US census data, the Latino population in Riverside was 49 percent, as opposed to 38 percent in 2000. Statistically speaking, Latinos tend to vote along Democrat party lines, attributing to the recent political shift.
For the U.S. House District 41, Democrat Mark Takano, representing Riverside, was sent to D.C., and is the first gay person of color elected to Congress. Upon his win, Mark Takano released a statement that promised he would use “common sense Riverside values,” as well as help “create good-paying jobs, to ensure that college remains affordable and workforce training programs remain available…”
A win was taken by Congressman-elect Dr. Raul Ruiz who dominated in a district with approximately 40 percent of voters who were registered Republicans as opposed to almost 39 percent Democrats. Mary Bono Mack, the former incumbent of that district, had to win over 20 percent of her constituents who are not affiliated with a party or claim other political parties. Ruiz is the son of farm workers, yet his campaign pushed the fact that he is a physician by profession and is dedicated to serving the community.
Former California State Assemblywoman Gloria Negrete McLeod was also elected to Congress; McLeod defeated the incumbent Joe Baca for California’s 35th congressional district. With both candidates as Democrats, this was one of the first districts to hint at the coming political shift in the Inland Empire.
For San Bernardino, both candidates were Republican, and Gary Miller won with 55 percent of the total vote. Barstow and Corona also elected GOP party candidates to the U.S. House of Representatives, Paul Cook (R-Barstow) and Ken Calvert (R-Corona).