By Haddon Libby

Early voting and mail-in ballots are only a few weeks away.  While most of the attention is focused on the Presidential race, the Coachella Valley has many important elections for locals to cast their ballots for.

At the top of the local ticket is the race for Congress.  Four-term Congressman, Dr. Raul Ruiz (D) is running against Erin Cruz (R).  Ms. Cruz’ website states that she is running as a ‘Tea Party’ Republican.

The battle for the 42nd State Assembly district is between Andrew Kotyuk (R) and Mayor of San Jacinto and two-term incumbent Chad Mayes.  Mayes left the Republican Party in December, 2019.  In leaving the GOP, Mayes told Jill Cohen of the New York Times, “Politics shouldn’t be about the cult of personality. It should be about debating ideas.  But it’s the obsession that people have on both sides. The blind loyalty among Republicans to the president, or for that matter, the blind hatred that Democrats have for the president is the problem. And that’s why I think it’s best to be able to step outside of the two extremes.”

For the 56th district, incumbent Eduardo Garcia (D) is facing newcomer America Figueroa (R).

Looking around the valley, there are a number of city council races.

Cathedral City

District 1 has incumbent Rita Lamb facing Alan Carvalho.  Ms. Lamb joined the council last year in a special election to replace long-time councilman, Greg Pettis, who died in early 2019.  In that election, Ms. Lamb, a retired school principal, faced former councilman and Mr. Carvalho’s spouse, Shelley Kaplan.  During that contest, Mr. Carvalho had a number of complaints filed against him for harassment, including one by Ms. Lamb.  It will be interesting to see if a progressive activist with a Trumpian style can win over a retired school principal.

District 2 has JR Corrales against new full-time resident Nancy Ross in filling the seat of outgoing Mayor John Aguilar.  Ross, a recent snowbird turned local from Portland, Oregon, is considered the front-runner.


Three-term Mayor, Steven Hernandez facing Lesly Figueroa, a community organizer.

City Council Incumbents, Felipe Bautista and Emmanuel Martinez face Neftali Galarza and Denis Delgado with the top two vote getters being elected.   City Clerk and Treasurer positions are running unopposed.

Desert Hot Springs

Incumbent Mayor Scott Matas faces Adam Sanchez.  Meanwhile, two city council seats are up with incumbent Russell Betts and council appointee Robert Griffith facing Jonathan Laura, RJ Giboney, Jessica Gilbert, Roger Nunez and Jason Moore for the two seats.

Indian Wells

Three of its five council seats decided in November with incumbents Ty Peabody and Ted Mertens unable to run for reelection due to term limits.  Incumbent Kimberly Muzik faces former councilman Doug Hansen, attorney Greg Sanders and writer Kathy Strong with three of the four to be elected.


Mayor Glenn Miller is running against Erin Teran for the 1st district.  In the 5th district, incumbent Lupe Ramos Amith faces Erick Nadurille and Frank Ruiz.

La Quinta

Mayor Linda Evans is facing perpetual candidate Robert Sylk.  Richard Gray is hoping to unseat either incumbent Steve Sanchez or Kathleen Fitzpatick.

Palm Desert

Karina Quintanilla is looking to unseat Susan Weber in the 1st district.   District 2 has incumbents Gina Nestande and Kathleen Kelly up against Evan Trubee and Steven Moyer for two council seats.

Palm Springs

Councilmember Christy Holstege faces former councilman Mike McCulloch and Dian Torres in the 4th district while Lisa Middleton is running unopposed in the fifth.

At the top of the ballot is a vote for President of the United States.  As of this writing, Biden led Trump in the state by a 23 point margin.  State polls show as many as one in seven voters in the state may vote for one of the other four Presidential candidates on the ballot: Gloria La Riva of the Peace and Freedom Party, Rocky de la Fuente Guerra of the American Independent Party or Howie Hawkins of the Green Party.

Haddon Libby is the Founder and Managing Partner of Winslow Drake Investment Management.  For more information, please visit