By Jean Merl
December 6, 2013, 5:31 p.m.

Republican Rep. Darrell Issa of Vista will hit the campaign trail early on behalf of a GOP challenger in what is expected to be a hotly contested Riverside County congressional district seat.

The Brian Nestande for Congress campaign said Issa would headline an event Saturday in Palm Desert.

Nestande, a state assemblyman, is challenging freshman Rep. Raul Ruiz (D-Palm Springs), an emergency room physician who defeated GOP Rep. Mary Bono Mack last year.

Both major parties are expected to battle for the 36th Congressional District seat. The area was once a strong bet for Republicans, but changing demographics and a growing Latino population helped Democrats take the seat last year.

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