PALM SPRINGS, Calif. -

More than 200 desert democrats turned out Sunday for the "Activist of the Year Luncheon" at the Palm Springs Renaissance Hotel. The event awarded honorees Greg Rodriguez Activist of the Year and Betty McMillion the Lifetime Achievement Award.

The crowd, looking to the future, awaited a big announcement from State Assemblyman Manuel Perez.

"I'm very proud to say I will be announcing my candidacy for Board of Supervisors for District 4," said Perez.

In 2014, Perez hopes to take on the role of Riverside county supervisor, a seat that's been held by the Republican party for years.

"We are hoping to break that tradition and have a Democrat in that non-partisan position," said Priscilla Richardson, president of Democrats of the Desert.

While Perez and democrats alike hope to make history and turn the district blue, he says when it comes to the economy, jobs, and restoring the Salton Sea, his work as an assemblyman isn't over yet.

"There's more work to be done. We'll be unfolding that, but at the minimal I want for the Salton Sea, before I leave State Assembly, that all layers of government are on the same page and we coordinate together," he said.

Keynote speaker Rep. Raul Ruiz brought guests to their feet. They say he's proof a Democrat can win. Many of them were energized by the Coachella Valley native's work in Washington D.C., happy to see him return after he announced his race for Congress at this same event back in 2010.

"He announced with us and now he's our featured speaker ... It's a great way to celebrate," said Richardson.

While the assemblyman assembles his troops, Richardson says "We know it's going to be a battle."

"I think there's still much need out there and I feel I can deliver," said Perez.