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Bono Mack Concedes in Race Against Ruiz

The concession Friday signals the end of Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack's 14 years of public service.

Murrieta's outgoing Congresswoman, Mary Bono Mack, conceded defeat Friday in the race to represent the newly-drawn 36th District.

With Democratic emergency room doctor Raul Ruiz widening his lead in the race for the seat, the concession by Rep. Mack, R-Palm Springs, signals the end of her 14 years in public office.

"Thank you for giving me the distinct honor of serving in the United States House of Representatives for 14 years," Bono Mack said in a statement.

Her concession came shortly after the Riverside County Registrar of Voters released updated vote totals from Tuesday's election showing that Ruiz had widened his once narrow lead to more than 7,000 votes.

Ruiz, a Harvard educated doctor, said he received phone call from Bono Mack conceding the race. He said he thanked her for her service and discussed "working together for the benefit of our community moving forward after this hard-fought election."

"I believe that this election sends a message that it's time to put an end to partisan gridlock," Ruiz said. "I'm excited to go to Washington and represent the entire district -- including supporter of Congresswoman Bono Mack. The issues that we have to work on are clear -- the high cost of health care, bringing jobs to the Coachella Valley and investing in education and renewable energy."

The apparent resolution to the race came despite county election officials saying about 49,500 mail-in ballots, 60,000 provisional and 13,500 damaged ballots still needed to be processed.

Bono Mack was first elected to the 45th district in a 1998 special election held to fill the seat of her husband, Sonny Bono, who died in a skiing accident. She chairs the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade and the Women's Policy Committee.

was elected to represent Murrieta in the 42nd District when Bono Mack's service in the 45th District comes to an end in December.

The redistricted 36th District includes desert area of Riverside County, along with Hemet and Beaumont.

The campaigning between Bono Mack and Ruiz got heated in the days leading up to the election, with Bono Mack highlighting Ruiz's activities in the 1990s -- most notably comments he made during a 1999 protest in support of Leonard Peltier, who was convicted in 1977 of murdering a pair of FBI agents on a South Dakota Indian reservation, and Mumia Abu-Jamal, who was sentenced to life in prison for the killing of a Philadelphia police officer in 1981.

Ruiz told The Desert Sun last month he was "embarrassed" by the remarks, saying he was 27 at the time and was "caught up in the moment" of student protests.

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