Raul Ruiz, U.S. Congress
At the start of the 2012 campaign, Raul Ruiz was seen as a first-time candidate with little chance of defeating incumbent Mary Bono Mack. Just 5 months before Election Day, the Rothenberg Report said "we continue to rate the race as Republican Favored, though even that may overstate Democratic prospects here."
Then the ad campaign began, and people noticed. Said the Cook Report: "Republicans admit Democratic emergency room physician Raul Ruiz's ads are quite catchy."
Less than 7 weeks later, Ruiz won a commanding 53% to 47% victory, even though Republicans maintained a small turnout advantage turnout advantage on Election Day, and the campaign was outspent by a substantial margin.
Ruiz won by a huge margin among Latinos, due in large part to the extensive Spanish language TV ad campaign. But he also won among white voters as well, becoming the only Latino Democrat in the country representing a majority white Congressional district.