|Poll||Date||Sample||Bono Mack (R)||Pougnet (D)||Spread|
|Final Results||--||--||51.5||42.1||Bono Mack +9.4|
|2008: Bono Mack (R) 58%, Bornstein (D) 42%||2008: Obama (D) 52%, McCain (R) 47%
|2006: Bono Mack (R) 61%, Roth (D) 39%||2004: Bush (R) 56%, Kerry (D) 43%|
|2004: Bono Mack (R) 67%, Meyer (D) 33%||2000: Bush (R) 50%, Gore (D) 46%|
California’s 45th District is a massive district, beginning at the Arizona border and stretching westward across Riverside County. It takes in Palm Springs and then narrows to a small strip, which hooks around the towns of San Jacinto and Beaumont (in the neighboring 41st district) before heading northward to Moreno Valley. The Inland Empire, as this area of the state is called, is historically Republican – it gave Ronald Reagan 65 percent of the vote in 1984 – but has been trending Democratic. Moreno Valley gave Barack Obama 65 percent of the vote, which enabled him to carry the district with 52 percent of the vote, just shy of his national average.
The district is represented in Congress by Mary Bono Mack. Bono Mack succeeded her first husband, Sonny Bono, in Congress after his death in a skiing accident in 1998. Mack has compiled a moderately conservative voting record that places her in the middle of the Republican caucus. She has angered conservatives with some of her votes, most notably her vote for cap-and-trade legislation last year.
After Assemblywoman Julie Bornstein held Mack below 60 percent of the vote in 2008, Democrats began casting about for another high quality challenger. They found Steve Pougnet, the popular mayor of Palm Springs, who agreed to take the plunge. Pougnet has proved a capable fundraiser, raising $1.25 million dollars by the end of the second fundraising quarter. If the national mood improves, this race will likely become increasingly competitive.