Rep. Raul Ruiz, a Democrat, has represented the 36th Congressional District and will be up for reelection in November 2020. The four-term incumbent could face a GOP challenge from Raul Matthew Ruiz, a 57-year-old construction contractor from Perris, a small city 70 miles east of Los Angeles.
Two candidates named Ruiz could cause confusion for voters. The Democrat, a 47-year-old doctor, has won his last two elections by double digits.
“I want to give the citizens another option,” the other Ruiz told Politico. He argued that his potential opponent had a scant record in Congress.
Calls and messages from Fox News to both campaigns were not immediately returned.
On his campaign website, the Republican Ruiz said he saw the policies that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., the younger Ruiz and "and the rest of the liberal partisans in Congress are pushing and knows that they are threatening what makes this country great."
He previously flirted with running for the Perris City Council but withdrew after he failed to meet the residency requirements. He has been living in the 41st Congressional District, represented by Rep. Mark Takano, a Democrat, The Desert Sun reported.
Members of Congress have not been required to live in the district they represent.
In his announcement, Ruiz, the challenger, described how he started his construction firm and worked in agriculture. The paper said he's hired a Republican strategist as a political consultant.
The Ruiz-vs.-Ruiz faceoff wouldn't be the first time opposing candidates with the same name have collided. In 2018, Kansas GOP Rep. Ron Estes faced another Ron Estes in the Republican primary.
Representative Estes ultimately won by 62 percentage points.