Assemblyman Paul Cook, R-Yucca Valley

Monday, January 9, 2012 – 10:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 9, 2012 – 11.24 a.m.

According to the Z107.7 website in Morongo Basin, Assemblyman Paul Cook (R-Yucca Valley) has dropped his bid for a seat on the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors.

The radio station apparently let the cat out of the bag early.

Instead, Cook has announced he will run for the newly created 8th Congressional District.

A seat covering the conservative Desert Communities, and one well-suited to Cook.

The Cook switch-over leaves County Supervisor Neil Derry with one opponent.

That being James Ramos, Chairman of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians.

Ramos, who was goat-ed into running by District Attorney Mike Ramos, has the backing of former Supervisor Dennis Hansberger.

Hansberger was defeated by Derry in June 2008.

Today’s news makes the Ramos bid problematic.

In a currently head-to-head contest, and considering Ramos’ baggage, it’s hard to see him pulling off a primary election victory against Derry.

Ramos’ own polling, conducted about a month ago, says as much.

Ramos’ vulnerabilities include admitting the existence of Mexican Mafia activity on the reservation, earning more than $1.5 million annually without paying state income taxes, operating failed businesses, poor name identification with voters, being the leader of a gaming tribe, and not-to-mention, a life-long democrat running in a highly republican district.

Also of interest is the announcement that Chad Mayes, Chief of Staff to Second District Supervisor Janice Rutherford, will be Cook’s campaign manager.

The news is surprising since Rutherford, who has been touting campaign and ethics reforms in county government, has railed against board staff working on political campaigns.