Kimberlin Brown, an actress best known for her roles on "The Bold and the Beautiful" and other soap operas, became the first challenger to announce a run against Democratic Rep. Raul Ruiz of Palm Desert on Tuesday.
“For the first time in the history of our great country, we are not leaving something better behind for the next generation,” Brown, a Republican, said in a statement. She criticized Ruiz, saying he hasn't passed any "meaningful" legislation. She promised to work across the aisle and with President Trump to get things done.
Brown, 56, served as a campaign surrogate for Trump last year and spoke at the Republican National Convention, calling Trump a leader who "raised concerns on behalf of working people." She has also emphasized the challenges of being a small-business owner, highlighting her experience as the owner of an avocado farm and a design firm.
At a meeting of California's Tea Party caucus this spring, Brown became emotional when she talked about the need for Republicans to unite behind Trump.
Stephen Puetz, a campaign spokesman, said Brown and her husband recently purchased a home inside the district and are in the process of putting their Fallbrook avocado ranch up for sale. Voter records show Brown is still registered to vote in Rep. Duncan Hunter's district.
Ruiz, a third-term Democrat, has been identified by the National Republican Congressional Committee as a priority to unseat next year, but had no formal challengers until now.
He bested Republican Jeff Stone by more than 24 percentage points last year.