PALM DESERT, Calif. -

The congressional race to represent the 36th district is officially on.

"The primary elections is the starting gun for the elections in November. That's what it symbolizes for us -- the race starts now," said Dr. Raul Ruiz, a 36th district congressional candidate.

Ruiz is challenging local congresswoman and Republican Mary Bono Mack for her seat -- who while balancing her duties in Washington, D.C. said she's always in campaign mode.

"They're all the same. I try to keep my head down and do my job. Let politics take care of themselves," she said.

However Ruiz, a Democrat, said it's time for a change.

"They have a clear choice between a career politician who's done too little too late, and a public serviceman serving his entire district," he said.

Ruiz and volunteers hit the streets of the East Valley last month for a voter registration rally -- targeting the Hispanic community.

Latino's make up about 47 percent of the district and Bono Mack said going door-to-door is not necessarily what it takes to get Hispanic voters to the polls.

"Call my office and take a look at my voting records. They will see I represent them and care very much about them and their families," she said.

The two opponents, however, agree on a few things they believe all Americans need.

"It's the same message for everybody. Times are tough with the economy and we want jobs," said Bono Mack.

"We need to focus on what's important for everybody in the district, which is jobs and the economy. We need to fix Washington," said Ruiz.