As with any challenger, it is hard to find independent sources of information on them. I had to rely heavily on the Will Rollins campaign website to fill out this section.
- Rollins comes from a prosecutorial background, and has tried many cases in southern California related to counterterrorism and counterintelligence. This includes mass shooters, terrorists, and even those who attacked the capitol on 1/6.
- In fact, it was that heinous attack on our institutions that spurred Rollins to run in the first place. He comes from a family that has split along political lines, and his goal by winning is to help heal the nation after this serious attack on our democracy.
Here is a YouTube video from his website that explains more about his background.
Will Rollins is not in Congress, so there is no DW Nominate score available for him. I’d suspect he’d legislate like a pragmatic liberal if elected to Congress, and his issues page reflects that. Do know that Rep. Calvert is a backbencher with no notable achievements in 30 years on Capitol Hill other than the E-Verify immigration system.
Democracy Protection: Rollins as an ADA prosecuted threats to our country, both foreign and domestic, as a national security prosecutor. He has taken the oath of office seriously and has already attacked Calvert for signing on to documents seeking to overturn the election. He would also expand the franchise to vote by making it easier to vote where possible through the John Lewis for the People Act.
Health Care and Abortion: Rollins is an advocate for expanding the ACA with a public option, and also expanding Medicare eligibility. Rollins has come out strongly against the Rick Scott plan to eliminate Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare after 5 years. He also is a proponent of the right to choose, and of prosecuting those who harass those seeking an abortion.
Gun Safety: As a prosecutor, Rollins knows how dangerous assault rifles and other guns can be. He has called for a ban on assault rifles, red flag laws, and enhanced background checks. Rep. Calvert is in the pocket of the NRA and has received more money from them than anyone else in California.
Recent Elections —
2020 President: TFG (R-inc) 49.7%, Joe Biden (D) 48.6%
2020 House: Ken Calvert (R-inc) 57.1%, William O’Mara (D) 42.9%
2022 Race Rating: Likely Republican
2022 PVI: R+4
This district has been attached to many different parts of southern California, but the Corona area has always had Rep. Ken Calvert representing it ever since he was first elected in 1992. He had two close elections against future colleague Rep. Mark Takano at the beginning of his tenure, but then he went unchallenged for a while. The 1990s version of the district included western Riverside County, which kept it competitive.
After 2000 redistricting, the powers that be created an incumbent protection racket, and Calvert was given a safe seat that stretched to San Clemente along the California coast as well as previous turf in western Riverside County. Calvert went effectively unchallenged until 2008, when Obama hit such a high water mark that many southern California seats became competitive. Calvert weathered the storm again narrowly, and then beat back the same opponent in 2010 with a greater margin.
2010 redistricting brought Calvert a safe seat that did not include the city of Riverside. Instead, his district stretched into the Inland Empire and specifically the very red Temecula Valley. While Calvert was challenged during this decade, the lean of the district was such that no challenger could lay a glove on him. TFG easily won this district twice in its old iteration, and Calvert followed suit.
Now, the district includes parts of the Coachella Valley instead of the Temecula Valley. While the seat is much more Republican down the ballot when looking at presidential numbers, it also is a district TFG narrowly won a second time in 2020. The district, like much of California, is trending in a blue direction and I wouldn’t be surprised if Calvert retires or is ousted at some point this decade.
Political Tour of the District
This district is an oddly shaped amalgam of cities and exurbs found in the Inland Empire. The district starts with Norco and Corona, and then travels southeast to the exurb of Menifee. A branch of the district travels north through sparsely populated areas to pick up Calimesa on the border with San Bernardino County. Finally, the district continues eastward to the Coachella Valley to pick up Palm Springs and some suburbs. I don’t see how it is a community of interest, but it is how it is drawn.
Here’s where this race will be won in the 41st district.
- Coachella Valley: This valley is the Democratic anchor of the district, with many liberal retirees being found in the area. It is vital that Rollins run up the score in very blue Palm Springs, while also winning the rest of the towns nearby, which are much more swingy.
- Corona: This is where Calvert is from, and it is his home base. Biden narrowly won the city, and Rollins will have to match that margin if he is to have any chance of ousting Calvert. That is a task that is easier said than done, as the incumbent has 30 years of goodwill built up here.
Here’s where we need to keep the margins down, or we lose.
- Lake Elsinore, Wildomar, Menifee: These exurbs are at the center of the district, and they also are some of the most Republican areas of the district. Biden actually won Lake Elsinore in 2020, so Rollins has to match that. The rest of the area in the middle is strongly GQP in voting.
- Calimesa, Cherry Valley: The odd northern spur of the district is also a place where the GQP has plenty of voters that are not enamored of the Democratic Party. Luckily, the total population in these areas is small, so Rollins is free to ignore these towns in his quest to unseat Calvert.
- Norco: This city near Corona is heavily GQP, and it also has a decent population. Calvert is very likely going to run up the score in this city, so Rollins is better off not bothering to contest here.
Activism — Help How You Can!
ADA Will Rollins raised a decent chunk of cash for a challenger in Quarter 1, having raised $466k. Obviously, this won’t be enough to compete in the pricy southern California media markets. The good news is that Calvert didn’t raise much more than Rollins did — a cool $587k. I suspect that dark money will not be in play for this district unless funding on both sides picks up substantially.
Rollins, as a challenger, has a huge deficit in cash on hand when compared to Rep. Calvert. Rollins has $618k to play with as of right now, while Calvert has a heftier $1.36 MILLION to burn through. Rollins is not as likely to win as other challengers I highlight, but this is about seeding the district with infrastructure to win in the future. That’s why a small donation to Rollins is worth it!
DONATE TO WILL ROLLINS HERE
If you live in the Inland Empire, this is an excellent opportunity to build up campaign infrastructure for Rollins and for future campaigns to oust Calvert. https://willrollinsforcongress.com/get-involved/volunteer is where you can sign up to assist his campaign.
Rollins will need help on social media to get his message out. He only has 2,215 followers on Twitter, which is okay for a first time campaigner but not enough to get attention in this day and age. We’ll have to help him with that. Here’s an ad he has run combined with some more background on him.
Rollins is also active on Facebook at WillRollinsForCongress and on Instagram at willrollinsca
ADA Will Rollins does have a chance at this district, as the Republicans combined for 52.6% of the primary vote and the Democratic candidates combined for 47.4% of the vote. Quite often, these jungle primary percentages translate into how the vote will roughly go in November. I personally think this district will be won in 2024, but the hard work for that to happen has to start now. Thank you for reading another Majority Savers article!
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