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On Raul Ruiz’s Triumph And How It Tells Story Of Latino Vote in 2012

by Mahwish Khan on 11/19/2012 at 4:02pm

During the fall, we wrote several times about the race between the race between Republican incumbent Rep. Mary Bono Mack (CA) and Democrat Raul Ruiz. America’s Voice included this match-up in our spotlight of fifteen competitive House races important to Latino and Asian voters — and all those who care about common-sense immigration reform.

Ruiz won.

Today, Politico titled its report on the race’s outcome, “Raul Ruiz win tells story of Election 2012.” And it does tell a great story about the power of the Latino vote:

If the growing sway of Latinos in American politics was the story of election 2012, Raul Ruiz’s triumph in California’s 36th Congressional District was a dramatic subplot.

The son of migrant farmworkers who scraped his way through UCLA and then Harvard Medical School, Ruiz dislodged Rep. Mary Bono Mack, a 14-year fixture of the Republican Conference who didn’t seem to fully appreciate the district’s fast-growing Hispanic population until it was too late.

Ruiz faced huge obstacles challenging an entrenched incumbent. In his district, the Latino vote was critical and it seemed like Bono Mack went out of her way to offend her Latino constituents. In the end, Ruiz made history:

Political handicappers scoffed at Ruiz’s chances when the emergency room doctor launched his campaign: Bono Mack was too well-known in the district, and Ruiz had never run for office.

But Ruiz pounced on Bono Mack’s support for Rep. Paul Ryan’s controversial Medicare reform plan. And he rallied the district’s growing Latino population — Hispanics make up more than a quarter of registered voters and 47 percent of the population overall — to help lift him to a narrow victory.

Ruiz also highlighted his deep roots in the district and undeniably impressive life story.

It is indeed an impressive life story — and it will be more impressive when he’s sworn in as Congressman Ruiz.

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