Targeted congressman

Democrats have targeted Rep. Gary Miller (R-Rancho Cucamonga) for defeat in next year's elections and have already scheduled a forum for Democrats who will try to succeed him. (Handout / May 7, 2008)

If they gave out prizes for the earliest candidate forums, the Democrats trying to unseat Rep. Gary Miller (R-Rancho Cucamonga) next year probably could walk away with one.

The four Democrats who have announced plans to run in the June 3, 2014, primary have been invited to participate in a forum on Saturday in Redlands, according to the forum's sponsor, the Redlands Area Democratic Club.

That's more than nine months before the primary and more than a year before the contest is decided in the fall general election.

But things have heated up very early in the 31st Congressional District in San Bernardino County. Democrats hold a 41%-34% registration edge over Republicans, but Miller, who moved into the district from Diamond Bar, won the redistricted seat two years ago.

In 2012, the first election cycle under the state's new top-two primary system, the large number of Democrats on the ballot split the vote, enabling two Republicans, Miller and state Sen. Bob Dutton, to win the two places on the general election ballot.

Democrats, noting that President Obama carried the district with 57% of the vote the year that Miller won the seat, have been itching for another chance. Challengers to date are Redlands Councilman Pete Aguilar, who had been expected to win in 2012; former Rep. Joe Baca, who lost his 2012 congressional race in a new district to fellow Democrat Gloria Negrete McLeod; attorney Eloise Gomez Reyes; and San Bernardino school board member Daniel Tillman.

Saturday's forum will be held at 1 p.m. at the International Union of Operating Engineers' hall at 1647 Lugonia St., Redlands.

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jean.merl@latimes.com

Twitter: @jeanmerl