Republican Ray Haynes is weighing a run for Congress in the Southern California desert.
In an email to supporters, the former state lawmaker said he may seek the 36th Congressional District seat held by freshman Rep. Raul Ruiz.
Haynes' entry would complicate what was expected to be a two-way race between Ruiz and GOP Assemblyman Brian Nestande, who has carved out a reputation as a moderate voice in the caucus. Ruiz emerged as a top target of Republicans after soundly defeating former Rep. Mary Bono Mack in 2012.
Republicans enjoy a nearly 1.5-percentage point voter registration advantage in the district that stretches from Hemet east to the California-Arizona border.
"The time to win the 36th Congressional district is this year, and so, if I am to re-engage in politics, this would be the time to do so," he wrote. "That is why I am looking at this seat now."
In his message, posted in its entirety here, Haynes said he believes the district wants a conservative Republican as its representative. He asks his network of supporters whether they would back him in a potential run.
"Over the last couple of years I have found myself becoming more and more frustrated by what is going on in Washington," Haynes wrote. "Quite frankly, I could live the rest of my life, never be in Congress, and believe that I have done well by my neighbors during my time in politics. However, there are times when I believe I can be value added to the country, my state, my county, and my neighbors by giving voice to their concerns and their needs in the political arena."