top of page

GOP Congressional Candidate Kimberlin Brown Pelzer Takes the Low Road

GOP “Young Gun” Congressional Candidate Kimberlin Brown Pelzer—She Shoots Herself With Planted Questions and Extremist Pals April 16, 2018

The GOP will do anything and everything to win elections from the top of the ticket on down. We all know about Demagogue Donald’s 2016 campaign of fake news and his gang’s probable collusion with Putin’s Russia. Down-ticket “Team Red” 2018 midterm candidates for House and Senate races are no better. Arizona GOP Cong. Martha McSally, who is running for a Senate seat, held a Facebook Live Event. At that event, she posted a comment from her own account praising herself for “great video quality,” and adding, “thank you for your service (, Willis, 4/10/18).” McSally is not the only GOPer who was recently caught planting her own comments to look good. GOPer Kimberlin Brown Pelzer, running for a congressional seat in CA, was caught doing a similar stunt. As part of a Facebook Live Q&A, where candidates are supposed to be taking questions from voters, a question about “sanctuary cities” from Brown Pelzer’s personal account was added/planted into the mix of questions (See, Willis, Metz, “Desert Sun,” 4/06/18). “Sanctuary cities,” where illegal immigrants can not be apprehended by state or federal authorities for deportation, constitute a central issue in the immigration debate, especially for the GOP’s hard-right xenophobic base (See Metz, “Desert Sun”). Who is Kimberlin Brown Pelzer?

On 10/10/2017, GOPer Kimberlin Brown Pelzer (56) announced she was running for CA’s 36th Congressional District (CD) in 2018. She wants to defeat that district’s current Congressman, Democrat Raul Ruiz (46) who is running for his 4th term (, Dolan, 10/10/17, 115th Congress At Your Fingertips). The present CA 36th CD covers eastern Riverside County. On its western side, the 36th takes in Banning and Beaumont and stretches all the way east to Blythe at the AZ border. The 36th includes the cities of Palm Springs, Palm Desert, Indio, Hemet, and San Jacinto. This CD also includes Coachella and Rancho Mirage. Agriculture, tourism, and alternate energy sources constitute this area’s economic pillars (CQ & Barone 14 Political Almanacs). The 36th contains the Coachella Valley which produces 95% of the dates eaten in the U.S. The Coachella Valley’s fertile farmland relies on irrigation from the western waters of the Colorado River and seasonal migrant workers. Palm Springs, once the winter resort of the stars, has now become popular with rich retirees and gay couples. Former Presidents Eisenhower and Ford retired to this desert area. Several Native American reservations are in the 36th and have tribal casinos in the Palm Springs area. About 1/3 of the jobs in Palm Springs, Cathedral City, and Palm Desert are provided by hospitality and retail sectors. With its high desert sands, the Joshua Tree National Park is a tourist spot. The alternative-energy industry is growing. The western edge of Palm Springs is dotted with windmills, and huge solar projects are under way in the desert region to the east (CQ 14).

About 300,000 people live in the 36th. Hispanic residents make up 48% of the 36th’s population barely edging out whites. CA’s non-partisan redistricting commission, which drew the boundaries of the 36th after the 2010 census, wanted to keep the retirement and Indian lands together. The result is a strongly competitive swing district. The latest 4/07/2017 Cook Partisan Voting Index (PVI) gives the 36th a D+2 score. Democrats have a narrow 6% voter registration edge. The GOP voters in the 36th are not overwhelmingly hard-right conservative. Obama carried the 36th by a 4% margin in 2008 and by 3% in 2012. In 2016, Hillary beat Donald by 9%, 52%-43% (CQ 14,, Horseman, 1/30/18).

Born in Zacatecas, Mexico, Raul Ruiz was adopted by migrant farmworker relatives as a baby and raised in Coachella. From a very young age, he wanted to become a doctor. A high-achieving high school student, Ruiz went door-to-door in Coachella with a handmade contract to ask neighbors and local businesses to contribute to his college tuition. He raised almost $2,000. After graduating UCLA magna cum laude in 1990, he attended Harvard Medical School. He became the first Latino to receive three graduate degrees from Harvard, his M.D. and master’s degrees in public policy and public health (Barone & CQ 14, While at Harvard, Ruiz spent almost a year in Chiapas, Mexico with a health and social organization. He told “The Desert Sun” newspaper that that experience showed him the “tremendous nature of poverty and how real policies can actually affect human lives (Barone, 14).” After graduating Harvard, Ruiz worked in Mexico, El Salvador, and Serbia. He then took a job as an emergency room physician at the non-profit Eisenhower Medical Center in Coachella Valley. In 2011, Ruiz became senior associate dean at the University of California Riverside’s Medical School (,, 1/10/13). In 2012, he received an award from the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division for aiding the victims of the 2010 Haiti earthquake (

In 2012, in his first run for public office, he ran against incumbent Mary Bono Mack. Bono Mack first won this seat in 1998, after her husband, singer Sonny Bono’s, death. Ruiz’s campaign was considered a long-shot. However, Bono Mack was facing her first Hispanic challenger. Ruiz had a demographic advantage in this newly redrawn district where Latinos then had almost 40% of the voters. He ran as a “public servant and physician, dedicated to serving the community.” In the general election, the DCCC (Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee) gave Ruiz substantial support and former Pres. Bill Clinton endorsed him (KESQ, 10/23/12). GOP PACS spent lots of money on Bono. Bono attacked Ruiz for being in protest demonstrations while at Harvard. GOP ads called Ruiz a “tool” of Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and a supporter of Obamacare. In an upset victory, Ruiz won by a 6% margin, 53%-47%. In 2014, a big GOP year, “Team Red” thought freshman Ruiz was vulnerable. This time, he beat his opponent by 8 points. In 2016, Ruiz won his third term by a 24.2% margin (U.S. House of Reps. Elections, 2012, 2014, 2016).

In the House, Cong. Ruiz sat on the Natural Resources and Veterans’ Affairs Committees and currently sits on the key Energy and Commerce Committee (CQ 14, !15th Cong. At Your Fingertips). In this swingy district, he has voted with “Team Blue” 90.8% of the time ( He has been labeled a Populist-Leaning Liberal (on He has basement ratings from the NRA as well as anti-immigration groups ( In 2016, after the Pulse nightclub Orlando, FL massacre, Ruiz joined dozens of his Democratic colleagues as part of a House sit-down to force a vote on gun control legislation including universal background checks (, 6/22/16). He has stated his support for Obamacare and voted against its repeal (, Baker, 6/11/13, He is strongly pro-choice. He voted against an act to ban abortions that take place 20 or more weeks after fertilization( He is for protecting Medicare and Social Security (

Under CA law, the 6/05/2018 primary will send the top two vote-getters, regardless of party, to the 11/06/2018 general election. Although five GOPers have filed to run against Ruiz, Kimberlin Brown Pelzer looks like the GOP front-runner who will face Cong. Ruiz in the 11/2018 election. Ruiz has no Dem. opponents. Brown Pelzer, because of her fundraising ability, has been named, along with 15 other GOP congressional hopefuls to the “Young Guns” program. Being a GOP “Young Gun” boosts her candidacy. It gives her the opportunity to receive more financial national GOP aid, more help from GOP- leaning groups such as the Koch Bros., and assistance from Republican campaign consultants. Brown Pelzer has been endorsed by former H.W. Bush Chief of Staff and ex-NH Gov. John Sununu, outgoing Fullerton GOP Cong. Ed Royce, and the Riverside County Republican Party (See, Horseman, 1/30/18, Hayward, CA native Brown Pelzer is best known for her soap opera acting career. She portrayed Sheila Carter on “The Young and the Restless” and “The Bold and the Beautiful” off-and-on from 1992-2006. She built several businesses with her husband including a sports fishing and marina rental business and an avocado farm. She owns and personally operates a design company (, Dolan, 10/10/17, Brown Pelzer entered the political spotlight by speaking in prime time at the 2016 GOP National Convention that nominated Donald (, A big Trump supporter, she proudly attended his inauguration (See Brown Pelzer believes that the 36th CD “has not been effectively represented” by Cong. Ruiz. She stated that “hard-working people across the district want to see conservative leadership in Washington (, Horseman, 1/30/18).”

In addition to burnishing her record by trying to plant her own questions among regular voters, Brown Pelzer pals around with some controversial extremist characters. Photos posted to her Instagram from the GOP 2016 Convention included one posing with former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. Flynn is at the center of multiple ongoing investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 election (, 10/10/17).

Besides Flynn, Brown Pelzer is a fan of former Deputy Assistant to Trump, Sebastian Gorka, one of Donald’s top anti-terrorist “experts.” Gorka, a native of England, whose family came from Hungary, was the fellow who wore a Vitezi Rend medal on his suits. Vitezi Rend was a Hungarian far right group that the U.S. State Dept. labeled as being under control of Nazi Germany during WWII. Members of this group helped Nazis in 1944 Hungary round up Jews and send them to the Auschwitz concentration/extermination camp. Gorka was accused of taking an oath of loyalty to this group. He denied that, but said he wore this medal in honor of his father’s “struggle” against totalitarianism. In any event, Gorka, for years, has had close ties and worked with far-right openly racist and anti-Semitic Hungarian groups (See Nichols, “Horsemen of the Trumpocalypse,” “The Forward”). On 4/08/2018, Gorka came to address GOPers at the Unite the Inland Empire Conservative Conference about the 2018 midterms. Brown Pelzer was “excited” to see Gorka. She wanted to hear what Gorka would say about “sanctuary cities (Metz, “Desert Sun,” 4/06/18).” Prior to his speech, Brown Pelzer met with Gorka and called this meeting with him “wonderful (, Metz, 4/08/18).” Brown Pelzer also spoke at this gathering (

Kurt Bardella, a former spokesperson to retiring right-wing GOP Cong. Darrell Issa and former moderate GOP ME Sen. Olympia Snowe, left the GOP. He became a Democrat after Trump’s rise and the GOP’s backing of AL sexual predator Roy Moore (USA Today, Bardella, 12/10/17). Bardella aptly stated, “Anyone who wants to be seen with extremists who vocalize these views is the reason the Republican Party is an endangered species in California (, Metz).” Yes, the GOP, with its extremist platform and extremist personalities from Trump on down, is an “endangered species” in CA and many other places in the U.S. Ruiz has a big political war chest and has won his previous elections easily. However, elections are not won by theorizing pundits. They are won by strong turn out on the ground. Speaker Ryan and 38 other GOPers are retiring rather than running again in 2018. The 36th CD remains a competitive district. The GOP still plans to challenge Ruiz, because it believes that Democratic voters will not turn out in midterms while the “Red” base will (See Wildermuth,, 2/28/18). On 11/06/2018, Democrats in the CA 36th and the rest of the country must prove the GOP wrong by voting in droves. Ruiz must be re-elected and the House taken back. We must reject Trump and Brown Pelzer’s extremism.

bottom of page