Your guide to California’s Congressional District 41 race: Rep. Ken Calvert vs. Will Rollins

Republican Rep. Ken Calvert, left, and Democratic former federal prosecutor Will Rollins
Republican Rep. Ken Calvert, left, and Democratic former federal prosecutor Will Rollins are competing in a Riverside County congressional district that includes Palm Springs.
(U.S. House Office of Photography and Courtesy of Will Rollins)

The race in California’s 41st Congressional District features veteran GOP lawmaker Ken Calvert facing off with former federal prosecutor Will Rollins.

Calvert has held office since 1993, but his Riverside County district is now evenly divided between Republican and Democratic voters.

Military facilities, air quality and infrastructure are among the key issues in the district.


Who are the candidates?

Calvert, a Corona native, is the longest-serving GOP member of California’s congressional delegation. Despite his three decades in the nation’s Capitol, supporters laud his presence and accessibility in the district. He has also secured funding for local transportation projects and the region’s military facilities.

He was also the author of legislation that created the E-Verify system, which employers can use to check the immigration status of new hires.

Where U.S. House candidates Republican Ken Calvert and Democrat Will Rollins stand on inflation, abortion, immigration, gun laws, LGBTQ rights, more.

Oct. 26, 2022

Rollins said the 9/11 terrorist attacks sparked his interest in public service. He didn’t join the military because he was a closeted gay man at the time and feared being outed. So he decided to work on national security at the Justice Department, most recently focusing on prosecuting the insurrectionists who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6.

“I saw firsthand how conspiracy theories and lies turned to violence,” he said. Seeing politicians spread lies about purported voter fraud and attempts to overturn the last election spurred him to run for office, he added. He has criticized Calvert over his votes to overturn presidential results in two states.


The Calvert campaign aims to portray Rollins as a carpetbagger, noting that he first voted in Riverside County in June. Rollins grew up in Manhattan Beach and was registered to vote in Los Angeles County from 2003 to 2021. He moved to Palm Springs this year from Canyon Lake, which is also in the district.


Where is District 41?

The Riverside County district stretches from the sprawling city of Corona to the resorts and manicured golf courses of the Coachella Valley. The once-every-decade redrawing of congressional maps resulted in conservative swaths including Murrieta being excised from the district, and the inclusion of the Palm Springs area, home to one of the largest concentration of LGBTQ voters in the nation.


Where Calvert and Rollins stand on Jan. 6

Calvert was among more than 100 GOP House members who signed an amicus brief in December 2020 asking the Supreme Court to overturn election results in four swing states that Biden won.


The next month, after insurrectionists were cleared from the Capitol on Jan. 6 and the House and Senate reconvened to debate certification of electoral votes, Calvert voted against certifying the election results in Pennsylvania and Arizona. He said that although he had concerns about the electoral process in both states, he believed Biden was legitimately elected president.

“I have consistently condemned the violence that took place on January 6th as well as all kinds of politically motivated violence. My Electoral College certification votes reflected concerns I had with the application of election laws in two states. Those states would not have changed the outcome in the election,” he told The Times.

Rollins said, “The conspiracy theorists who enabled the attack on our Capitol don’t deserve to work inside the building, period.”

He said that at the Justice Department he “fought against adversaries — foreign and domestic — trying to influence our political system. I also fought against corruption and the insurrectionists who supported ... efforts to overturn the last election,” he told The Times. “I stand with the brave men and women who put their lives on the line to protect our Capitol, and I stand for democracy, the rule of law, and the peaceful transfer of power.”


Where Calvert and Rollins stand on LGBTQ rights

During his first reelection campaign, an ally of the congressman outed Calvert’s Democratic opponent, and his campaign authorized mailers about his rival’s sexuality. In an interview, Calvert defended the messaging as part of a “heated” campaign and said he has “never had any animosity to the gay community.”


In July, he voted to codify federal protections for same-sex couples; the bill, which passed the House, was a response to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ opinion that the ruling that established same-sex marriage as a right under the 14th Amendment should be reconsidered.

“My views on gay marriage have evolved over time,” he said.

Rollins said he knows “firsthand that government-sponsored discrimination has lasting effects on all Americans, our economy, and our national security.”

The Democrat said he blames longtime Republican leaders for supporting Supreme Court justices who could dismantle gay rights. He pointed to Thomas’ opinion in the court’s decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade as evidence that protections for same-sex relationships could be undermined.


Where Calvert and Rollins stand on abortion

Calvert has said he doesn’t support a national ban on abortion and that the matter should be left to the states. He has said he believes women should have the right to abortion in cases of rape, incest or if their health is jeopardized by the pregnancy, and that he opposes third-trimester abortions.

Rollins called the Supreme Court’s stripping of federal protection for abortion “horrifying” and supports codifying reproductive rights.


Past coverage

Rep. Ken Calvert, who has opposed gay rights and once attacked an opponent for being gay, is facing a challenge from a gay Democrat in a newly competitive district.

July 14, 2022

In California election ads, Democrats running for Congress spotlight abortion access after Roe vs. Wade’s overturn; Republicans focus on inflation.

Oct. 19, 2022


How and where to vote

Ballots have been mailed to all 22 million registered voters in the state. Californians can return ballots by mail, drop them at collection boxes or turn them in at voting centers. They can also cast ballots early at voting centers or wait until Nov. 8 to vote at their neighborhood polling places.

Find out how to register, check voter status and vote here:

Here’s how to vote in the California midterm election, how to register, what to do if you didn’t get mail ballot or if you made a mistake on your ballot.

Nov. 1, 2022


For more election coverage

California voters head to the polls Nov. 8 to vote for U.S. senator, governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, controller, treasurer, attorney general, superintendent of public instruction, the state Board of Equalization, judges, members of Congress and the state Legislature. Local races in Los Angeles include mayor and county sheriff. There are also seven ballot propositions on the table.