The Story Exchange

Kimberlin Brown

Editor’s Note: Our coverage of Kimberlin Brown is part of Running Women, a project following 15 compelling women candidates for U.S. political offices in 2018. Read the latest on her campaign below.

America was first introduced to Kimberlin Brown as an actress on popular soap operas The Young and the Restless, The Bold and the Beautiful and All My Children. Now, people are getting to know her as a Republican candidate for the U.S. House seat in California’s 36th District, which includes her city, Palm Springs.

Brown made her political debut during the run up to the 2016 presidential election, as a speaker at the 2016 Republican National Convention representing female entrepreneurs — the night now-President Donald Trump was formally nominated as the GOP’s candidate. Just a few months later, the avocado farm owner and designer officially announced her own candidacy for Congress.

It won’t be an easy race, however. The seat she seeks to fill has been occupied by Democrats since 2001, and the incumbent, Rep. Raul Ruiz, has held the seat since 2012. Moreover, in statewide and national elections, the district has been blue, with very few exceptions, since 1992.

And Brown is not the only conservative who wants to flip that script. She will face another experienced TV presence, former news anchor Dan Ball, as well as hotel finance director Stephan Wolkowicz, in the June Republican primary.

Brown’s campaign platform emphasizes her status as an entrepreneur and political newcomer, and spotlights issues like nuclear proliferation, immigration reform and repealing the Affordable Care Act. In November, her message earned her an endorsement from the East Valley Republican Women Federated, a local grassroots organization for Republican women. She is also likely to get fundraising help from VIEW PAC, a political action committee that supports Republican women.

Brown and her husband, Gary Pelzer, have built several ventures over the years, including a sports fishing and marina rental business and an avocado farm. Brown also owns and operates her own design company, K. Brown Design, and has a hosting gig on The Design Network. She and Pelzer have two adult children. For fun, she skis, boats and golfs.

The Latest on the Campaign

June 5, 2018:
Brown Grabs 2nd Spot on General Election Ballot

Republican Kimberlin Brown Pelzer is advancing to the general election, after placing second in the primary race to represent the 36th District in Congress on Tuesday.

But she has a tough path to Washington. The district leans Democrat, and she faces and incumbent, Rep. Raul Raiz, a Democrat who won 55 percent of the vote to Brown Pelzer’s 23 percent.

California has an unusual “jungle” primary system that sends the top two vote-getters to the general election, regardless of party. Brown Pelzer managed to defeat four other candidates, all Republican men, who each received 8 percent or less of the primary vote.

In the California primaries, 52 women ran for House seats — 17 as incumbents, six for open seats and 34 as challengers. With some races too close to call as of publication, 31 women were on their way to the general election and at least five women were in limbo.

June 5, 2018:
The Brown Campaign Gets Out the Vote on Primary Day in California
February 19, 2018:
Brown Grows Local Network of Republican Women