----------PAST KEY RACES----------
California’s 31st District is a sprawling amalgamation of towns that run along the southern rim of the San Bernadino and San Gabriel mountains. It starts in Rancho Cucamonga before snaking eastward to San Bernadino and Mentone. Politically, this near-majority Hispanic district tilts Democratic, but not overwhelmingly so; Barack Obama won 57 percent of the vote here in both 2008 and 2012.
But the Democratic tilt, oddly enough, helped to elect Republican Gary Miller in 2012. Democrats ran multiple candidates in the primary, while Republicans coalesced around Miller and former state Sen. Bob Dutton. Because the top two vote-getters advance to the general election, regardless of party, Miller and Dutton edged out Redlands Mayor Pete Aguilar, the top Democratic vote-getter, by two percentage points. In the general election, Miller emerged victorious.
Miller opted for retirement this cycle, and Democrats nearly suffered the same fate; Aguilar made the runoff by a narrow margin. He’ll face off against businessman Paul Chabot in the fall. Given the lean of the district, Aguilar is the favorite, but not by a huge margin.