MORENO VALLEY – In an expected but stunning move, Riverside County Democrats elected a new chairman at its regular monthly meeting Monday night in Moreno Valley. Former Corona City Council candidate Steve Ruth defeated incumbent Chair Howard Katz, earning 59 percent of the votes of the party’s central committee. Ruth’s victory ended Katz’ three-year administration one year ahead of time.
“Needless to say, I’m honored to have the support of Riverside County Democrats as we work toward the 2018 midterm and 2020 elections,” Ruth said. “I am committed to working with all Democrats in Riverside County to bring unity to our party, to raise our party’s profile in the community and to raise the money necessary to help our candidates win elections.”
The election was necessitated after Katz moved out of his Assembly District during the summer. His move required that he resign as chair. As a result, and under the party’s bylaws, a new election was required.
At the September meeting, both Katz and Ruth were nominated.
Before Monday’s election, Ruth had earned the endorsements of the leading Democratic figures in Riverside County, including Congressman Mark Takano, Sen. Richard Roth, Assemblymember Jose Medina, Assemblymember Sabrina Cervantes, Community College District Trustee Bill Hedrick and the 2014 and 2016 Democratic nominee in California’s 42nd Congressional District, Tim Sheridan, among others.
“I am confident in Steve’s ability to lead our local party to successes this year, 2018 and beyond,” Takano said.
After lagging behind for many years, the Democrats recently became the majority party in Riverside County; a point Ruth made after his election.
“Over the last few years, we have turned this county blue. My focus will be on increasing those numbers in the coming years,” he said.
Ruth took office directly after the votes were certified. He will be up for re-election in November 2018.