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California House Race Candidates on January 6th Insurrection

On a warm summer night in downtown Palm Springs street vendors are selling everything from scented candles to date milk shakes and Mexican helados.

Lee Wilson Jr. is standing in front of a booth for the local chapter of the American Legion.

Wilson used to be a Republican, but he switched parties over what he saw as GOP extremism on guns and abortion.

Wilson likes his current Congressman, Democrat Raul Ruiz. But redistricting has put Wilson into a district that will be represented by Republican Ken Calvert, unless Democrats flip the seat.

Calvert voted against certifying the election and I ask Wilson if what happened on January 6th matters.

Calvert is up against a 37-year-old Democrat - Will Rollins.

At a fundraiser in Palm Springs recently, Rollins described how the former federal prosecutor helped build cases against January 6th rioters.

Rollins is hoping to mobilize voters in part by emphasizing abortion rights and concerns about false conspiracy theories about elections.

Loyola Law School professor Laurie Levenson agrees, and says overlooking what happened around the 2020 election is a big mistake.

For his part, Calvert, who has represented this region in Congress since 1993, is counting on voters to care more about kitchen table issues than the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

At a recent Saturday morning rally for Calvert, volunteers like Frank Nelson turned out to knock on doors in Calvert's hometown - Corona.

Nelson says what happened on January 6th was overblown.

His wife Betty Nelson thinks the clout Calvert could have is more important.

Voters like the Nelson might be ready to look past the extremism that led to January 6th, but Dave Hissen isn't. He's disgusted by what happened.

If Calvert is hoping to get support from Republicans like Hissen, he's out of luck. Because Hissen says he's not even going to vote.

We'll know soon whether voters here go with Trump endorsed Republican who's won 15 straight elections here or a fresh face who helped prosecute rioters who tried to keep Trump in power after he lost the election.