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September 12th , 2023       Political Note #588 Will Rollins California 41

2024                                         General Election

More people vote in presidential years.  Will Rollins is trying again in 2024.  He lost the top two runoff in California’s 41st Congressional District in 2022 by 11,000 votes, a 52-48 margin. His opponent, Ken Calvert, is #17 on Len’s List of Vulnerable Republican incumbents.

The redistricted California 41 had its first election in 2022.  Created by California’s non-partisan redistricting commission, the district is, nevertheless, funny shaped.  It has a thin north south stretch, a thick northeast wing that ends in Palm Springs, and a not quite as thick northwest wing that ends in Corona.  Corona has a population of about 160,000 or slightly less than one quarter of the Congressional District.  Hispanics are a bit more than 40% of the population; Non-Hispanic whites are about the same.  Palm Springs is smaller, with a population of about 45,000, though, in season, the population of this resort city triples.  Over the course of a single year, the city could have more than a million visitors.  A distinctive demographic for a city that has become known for welcoming gay visitors, 10% of its population are married or partnered same sex couples.  District 41, as a whole is 55% white, 30% Hispanic and has a prosperous median household income close to $87,500.  In 2022, in addition to reelecting Ken Calvert, the district was carried 53-47 by Republican Mark Meuser for the US Senate (Meuser lost the state 61-39), and was carried 55-45 for Governor by Republican Brian Dahle (who lost the state 59-41).

Before redistricting, in 2020, Joe Biden carried the Congressional District 62-36.  But before redistricting does not count.  Before redistricting Democrat Mark Takano was the Congressman for the District numbered 41.  He won by 64-36.  In 2022, after redistricting, Ken Calvert, who only once in his career since 1992 had a close election, won by 52-48.  Ken Calvert ran behind the Republican candidate for the US Senate and Governor. Facing Will Rollins again, in a presidential year, Ken Calvert will not have it easy.

Will Rollins grew up in Torrance, California, south of Los Angeles. His mother was an attorney, his dad a journalist.  He went away to college and law school.  Dartmouth BA, Columbia JD.   He had one surprising job before law school – two years as assistant press secretary in the office of the Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger.  After law school, after clerkships, he became a federal prosecutor.  In Los Angeles, he worked for the US Attorney focusing on counterintelligence and counter terrorism cases.   Will Rollins and his partner Paolo moved to District 41 in 2021 anticipating that he would run for Congress.  It was not just ambition.  Will Rollins saw Ken Calvert as a danger to the United States, as a danger to equality, and as a danger to gay people.  Consider the intensity with which Will Rollins responded to questions from the Advocate.

 “Voters will see through Ken Calvert’s B.S. You look at how his career began when he outed his congressional opponent in the 1990s, Mark Takano. That’s how he decided to run. He ran on homophobia.”

“Whether it was voting against gay marriage as he did in the 1990s, then voting against the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Bill in 2009, voting against repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and then 16 months ago voting against the Equality Act, essentially saying that landlords can kick out tenants for being gay, that employers can fire people for being gay, this is a vote he took last year. And when he says he has evolved, what he means is that he will do and say anything to keep power, and power has been very lucrative for him.”

“I think it comes down to a choice in how we as Americans want to use the law. Do we want to use it to dismiss charges against people who attacked the U.S. Capitol? Do we want to prosecute women who get abortions and their doctors? No.”

Will Rollins combines his own commitment to the rule of law with his disdain for Ken Calvert:

“This is somebody who voted to de-certify the last election, he voted against the January 6 commission, he called for dropping charges against the Capitol rioters even after it was clear that five police officers had died, and spent his entire three decades in Congress to try to overturn Roe vs. Wade.”

Will Rollins has a similar disdain for the former President.  He contrasts his own experience as someone with top secret clearance with Trump’s secret materials strewn around Mar-a-Largo.  He questions how Calvert could possibly both support Donald Trump so thoroughly and expect to be reelected in California.

“When you’ve got somebody who’s so cavalier or deliberate about withholding and keeping that kind of information at a golf club puts the lives of human beings overseas at risk, and the idea that we would ever think that we would keep nuclear weapons-related materials at a golf club and try to defend that as Republicans have done is astonishing to me.  After the [Mar-a-Lago] search, people like my opponent have said that the FBI is filled with rot instead of standing up for our national security.”

Will Rollins has issues besides Ken Calvert’s homophobia and support for Trump.  He ties those issues to the communities he hopes to represent.

On seniors, he says: “the Coachella Valley is home to many seniors and retirees….I will fight to protect and expand Medicare and Social Security …Calvert….opposes allowing Medicare to negotiate with the drug companies…”

On Protecting Abortion rights, he says: “Ken Calvert …supported the court’s overturn of Roe, believes rapists should be able to sue doctors who provide abortions…., and voted against legislation to make it illegal to barricade abortion clinics……Will Rollins would ….codify Roe, ….ensure access to medication abortion, ….protect the rights of people who travel to access abortions….

On Funding for Transportation and Infrastructure, he says: “If you’ve sat in the traffic on the 10, the 15, or the 215, you know the need for increased infrastructure funding for the Inland Empire….Ken Calvert voted against the bipartisan infrastructure projects, such as the I-15 corridor project … and the $12 million needed to widen Bundy Road in Menifee…..”

On Lowering Taxes and Costs for Working Families: “I want to lower taxes on the middle class families who actually live in Riverside County, where the median income is around $70,000 per year.  We do that by raising taxes on the billionaires who have been protected by ….Ken Calbert.

Will Rollins cannot achieve his goals alone.  He needs help to match Ken Calvert’s resources.  Calvert had $1.5 million for his campaign on July 1.  Will Rollins is no slouch; he had $800,000.  This is going to be a big money campaign.  Your little bit can help a lot.  Give to Will Rollins. 


The West Coast has several closely contested seats – Vulnerable Democratic incumbents; Vulnerable Republican Incumbents.  Take a look at some of them.  Consider helping a few of them.

 Seven Vulnerable Democratic Incumbents in the Pacific Coast and the Northwest

 Incumbent Marie Gluesenkamp Perez Washington 03. A graduate of Reed College. she is in her first term.  She and her husband have been running an auto repair shop and she is #4 on Len’s List of vulnerable Democratic incumbents.  She had $1.2 million available for her campaign on July 1.  Her opponent in 2022 had $370,000.  Another candidate has been raising money as well. Len’s Political Note #543

Incumbent Andrea Salinas Oregon 06 in her first term is the daughter of Mexican immigrants. She was a congressional aide before becoming a leading non-profit figure in Oregon and is #8 on Len’s List of vulnerable Democratic incumbents.  Neither of the announced Republican candidates had begun fund raising before July 1. Salinas had less than $500,000 for her campaign as of July 1.  Len’s Political Note #548

Incumbent Jim Costa California 21 is #14 on Len’s List of vulnerable Democrats.  The son of farmers, he preferred politics.  He began July with $600,000 available for his campaign.  His Republican opponent, an aviation exec, had $200,000.  Both will be raising money.   Len’s Political Note #566

Incumbent Mike Levin California 49 is in his second term after ousting a Republican incumbent. Co-founder of a clean energy trade association, he has a BA from Stanford and a JD from Duke.  He is #25 on Len’s List of vulnerable Democratic incumbents and entered July with $850,000 for his campaign.  Two Republicans have been raising money for the campaign.  One had $250,000, the other $100,000.

Incumbent Kim Schrier Washington 08 was first elected in 2018.  A pediatrician, she ran for Congress in response to Republican efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act.  She is #32 on Len’s List of vulnerable Democrats.  A banker, Carmen Goers has announced her candidacy, but has not yet raised much money. Schrier had $1.2 million available for her campaign on July 1. Len’s Political Note #390 for the 2022 election.

Incumbent Mary Peltola Alaska AL is in her first term of office.  Alaska’s first native American Member of Congress, she has an informal alliance with Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski. Mary Peltola is #35 on Len’s List of vulnerable Democratic incumbents.  She began July with almost $800,000 available for her campaign.  Her only Republican opponent had just begun raising money.

Incumbent Val Hoyle Oregon 04 grew up and went to school in Massachusetts.  She became sufficiently acclimated to Oregon so that she served as the state’s labor commissioner.  She is #36 on Len’s List of vulnerable Democratic incumbents and had $200,000 available for her campaign on July 1. No Republicans have yet announced for this seat.

Two California Democrats running against Vulnerable Republicans

Republican John Duarte California 13 is in his first term and is #2 on Len’s list of Vulnerable Republicans. Adam Gray is a former State Senator, particularly respected for his focus on bringing resources to his district.  Adam Gray has some catching up to do.  The incumbent had $1 million on July 1; Adam Gray had $35,000. Len’s Political Note #586

Republican Mike Garcia California 27 is a former navy pilot and division manager of Raytheon.  He was first elected in a special in 2020.  He is #19 on Len’s List Vulnerable Republican incumbents. Appealing as Franky Carillo is, the probable Democratic candidate is ex CEO George Whitesides, who had a little more than $1.2 Million at the beginning of July.  The incumbent had a little less.