John Tavaglione

BY JEFF HORSEMAN
STAFF WRITER
jhorseman@pe.com

Published: 25 June 2012 04:30 PM

A visit to Riverside by a Louisiana congressman underscores the importance of an Inland congressional race to Republicans as they try to keep and add to their House majority in November.

Steve Scalise, R-La., attended a fundraiser Monday, June 25, for John Tavaglione, a Republican and Riverside County supervisor running for the 41st Congressional District seat in a Nov. 6 runoff against Democrat and Riverside Community College District trustee Mark Takano.

Scalise is recruitment vice chairman for the National Republican Congressional Committee, which seeks to elect and re-elect House Republicans.

The 41st district encompasses Riverside, Perris, Moreno Valley, Jurupa Valley and surrounding areas. Democrats hold a voter registration edge in the majority Latino district, which doesn’t have an incumbent after being created through last summer’s redistricting.

The district went for Democratic President Barack Obama 59 to 38 percent in 2008, according to the California Target Book, which analyzes legislative and congressional races. But in an interview following the private fundraiser at the Riverside Marriott, Scalise noted Tavaglione was the top vote-getter and finished ahead of Takano by roughly 8 percentage points in the June 5 primary.

Scalise said the 41st race is “very important” to the Republican congressional committee as it tries to bolster the GOP’s House majority.

“We found a candidate in John Tavaglione that really put together all of ingredients that we look for — somebody who is respected in the community,” Scalise said. “John already currently holds elected office and has done a great job there. And not just doing a good job in his office, but he’s somebody who’s proven he can work with people, both Republicans and Democrats, to get stuff done.”

Tavaglione could not be reached for comment.

Scalise added the GOP is “very committed to doing whatever John needs to help him win this race” and that congressional Republicans will be donating to Tavaglione’s campaign.

Tavaglione has raised nearly $630,000 for his campaign and Takano more than $560,000 as of May 16, federal records show.

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