Palm Springs Mayor Steve Pougnet (D) is gearing up to challenge Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R) in 2010.
Pougnet has filed a statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission and established a campaign committee to begin raising money for the race. He has also met with Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee officials, who view him as a formidable candidate.
Pougnet, who is openly gay, has lived in Palm Springs since 1999. He was elected to the City Council in 2003 and was elected mayor in 2007.
Bono Mack’s Southern California 45th district voted 52 percent to 47 percent in favor of President Barack Obama in 2008, according to results compiled by the Swing State Project blog.
Democrats say the demographics of the district are rapidly changing and that voter registration numbers continue to swing in their direction, even though the district still has more registered Republicans
Democratic-allied groups ran ads targeting Bono Mack in the 2008 cycle in an attempt to soften her numbers, but her re-election race never rose to become a top target, and she won with 58 percent of the vote.
Bono Mack was first elected to the House in a 1998 special election to replace her husband, the late Rep. Sonny Bono (R-Calif.), who served as Palm Springs mayor from 1988 to 1992. She married fellow Rep. Connie Mack IV (R-Fla.) in 2007.