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Democrat Richard Roth Appears To Oust Jeff Miller In State Senate District 31

Jillian Olivas |
November 7, 2012 | 10:06 p.m. PST

Staff Reporter


Gen. Richard Roth and Assemblyman Jeff Miller competed in State Senate District 31. (prayitno/ Creative Commons)
Gen. Richard Roth and Assemblyman Jeff Miller competed in State Senate District 31. (prayitno/ Creative Commons)
Gen. Richard Roth led Assemblyman Jeff Miller and 53 percent to 47 percent with just provisional and some vote-by-mail ballots left to be counted in the race to represent District 31 in the California State Senate.

Flipping the seat was a key for state Democrats. They needed just two flips to capture a supermajority in the upper house of the Legislature.

District 31 includes portions of the Inland Empire such as Riverside, Corona, and Moreno Valley. This competitive seat attracted strong fundraising efforts from the Democrats.

In the latest filing period which extended through the end of September, Roth's campaign reported more than $1 million more in funds raised than Miller's campaign. By the end of the race, as much as $9 million was spent in total.

One of the main issues the campaign focused on was securing the approval for a medical school on the University of California, Riverside campus.

Roth called the medical school "vital" for the community.

"The School of Medicine and related industries will transform the region from an economic standpoint. That not only means jobs – it means good-paying jobs in a growth sector where economists project an increasing demand for hiring," he said in a statement.

Miller also supported the medical school, calling its approval "terrific" news.

In addition to the medical school, both campaigns focused on job creation. Both candidates have backgrounds in small business.

Roth, a veteran with 32 years of military service, aimed to emphasize the reintegration of veterans into the community with education and job training.

Miller wants to reduce the tax burden on small businesses to increase job growth. He advocates for reducing the size of government to fall in line with spending. Miller, a member of the Riverside City Transportation Commission, did not support the construction of a "high speed bullet train boondoggle" expected to cost taxpayers over $100 billion.

The race intensified between the two candidates when negative campaign ads aired.

The Roth campaign released a television ad that wrongly claimed that Miller received the highest legislative pay in America and accused him of spending taxpayer dollars and special interest money on personal items such as an SUV and cigars.

In October, Miller's campaign released a mailer that claimed "only one candidate will protect our kids." The mailer was referring to SB 1530, a piece of legislation that failed but would have loosened restrictions on firing teachers involved in sex, drug or violence against children. The mailer implied that Roth was connected to child molesters because of his endorsement by the California Teaches Association, which opposed the bill.

In addition to the California Teachers Association, Roth was endorsed by the California Labor Federation and the California Police Chiefs Association. Miller had been endorsed by  the California Small Business Association, National Federation of Independent Business, and the Southern California Alliance of Law Enforcement.

Miller won over 51 percent of the vote in the June 5 primary, while Roth won 28 percent with the rest going to Democratic challenger Steve Clute. In September, Clute shook up the race when gave his endorsement to Miller.



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Reach Staff Reporter Jillian Olivas here.



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