Los Angeles Times

Inland Empire region becomes pivotal battleground in Calif. governor's race

RIVERSIDE, Calif. - Seen by statewide politicians for years as a desert satellite in the outer orbit of Los Angeles, the Inland Empire has become one of most contested electoral prizes sought by the leading candidates running for California governor.

Democratic candidate Antonio Villaraigosa hopscotched across Riverside and San Bernardino counties on a monthslong listening tour before he even jumped into the race. Over Memorial Day weekend, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom dropped by a union hall in Bloomington, state Treasurer John Chiang hosted a burger cookout near the University of California, Riverside, and Huntington Beach Assemblyman Travis Allen hobnobbed with high desert conservatives at a Victorville Holiday Inn.

Riverside and San Bernardino counties are now pivotal swing districts in California's 2018 race for governor, with a closely divided and

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