10:00 PM PST on Monday, November 29, 2010

By BEN GOAD
Washington Bureau

Fresh off his defeat at the hands of incumbent Rep. Mary Bono Mack, Palm Springs Mayor Steve Pougnet has filed papers signaling a potential 2012 rematch in the 45th Congressional District.

Pougnet, a Democrat, filed his “statement of candidacy” papers with the Federal Election Commission on Nov. 8, just six days after Bono Mack, R-Palm Springs, won her eighth term by a 51-to-42 percent margin.

Merely opening a campaign account doesn’t necessarily mean Pougnet is committed to the race, and he didn’t return a phone call seeking comment.

Though Bono Mack won by a healthy margin, she could face a different political landscape in 2012.

The 45th Congressional District, which currently includes Moreno Valley, Hemet, Murrieta and Riverside County’s desert communities, is now the only district entirely within Riverside County. But a redistricting effort now getting under way is likely to change the lines of that district and others around the state.

While it isn’t clear how those changes might affect the 45th’s political leanings, Pougnet is undoubtedly factoring them into his decision about entering the race. The district also has a large and growing Hispanic population, which usually favors Democratic candidates.

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