It’s perhaps the first time in Riverside County history that Republicans are outnumbered

By Jeff Horseman / Staff Writer
Published: Aug. 13, 2016 – Updated: 10:04 p.m.

For the first time in recent memory and perhaps history, the number of registered Democratic voters in Riverside County outnumbers the ranks of registered Republican voters.

Data released by the county Registrar of Voters on Tuesday, Aug. 9 showed there are 347,713 registered Democrats and 346,309 registered Republicans, a gap of 1,404 voters. Democrats held an edge of just four voters as of early August, the first time the Democratic Party overtook the GOP.

The change is a major victory for Democrats as they work to turn the once solidly red Inland Empire blue.

It’s the first time in at least 17 years that Democrats have held an edge in voter registration here, according to Registrar of Voters Rebecca Spencer. The state’s online voter registration records go back to 1999.

The change came with a rise in the total number of registered voters. Roughly 921,000 county residents were registered to vote as of Aug. 1, up from almost 831,000 in September 2015.

Riverside County’s population was 2,361,026 in July 2015, according to the most recent numbers available from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Republicans outnumbered Democrats as recently as late April. It took 17 years to close a 10 percentage point GOP advantage, with Democrats adding 18,000 voters in the past three months, according to Doug Dye, who crunches voter registration numbers for the county Democratic Party.

Thirteen of the county’s 28 cities now have a plurality of Democratic voters, up from 10 in May 2015. Banning, Jurupa Valley and Desert Hot Springs join Riverside, Moreno Valley, San Jacinto and Palm Springs and other cities as places where Democrats have an edge, although the margin in Banning is just one voter.

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