Four candidates have eyes set on unseating longtime Congressman Ken Calvert
Republican Rep. Ken Calvert is a longtime incumbent and has represented portions of the Inland Empire for nearly 30 years, but redistricting has made his district less conservative.
When Congressman Calvert talks to voters in his district, the same top three concerns always come up. "Inflation obviously is out of control, the border, which is also out of control, and crime which is also out of control," Calvert said.
Calvert is running for reelection in California's newly redrawn 41st Congressional District, which now includes Palm Springs, La Quinta, and Palm Desert. The Republican from Corona has served in Congress for nearly three decades and says that his experience has helped bring in resources and jobs. "I'm the one that got the money to develop and expand the 91 freeway, the I-15 freeway… to bring the KC-46 to (March Air Reserve Base)," Calvert said.
In recent elections, Calvert has easily won by double digits. While political analysts rank this seat as likely republican, Calvert is facing four challengers.
"Calvert has a 7% scorecard from the League of Conservation Voters, he's consistently voted against the environment, and it's effectively leaving us uninsured for the future," said democrat candidate Shrina Kurani.
Kurani is an engineer and says one of her top priorities is addressing climate change. "We need to make sure that we have experts who know how to act on climate and who are focused on solving problems of work to transition large industry in Southern California from fossil fuels to renewable energy," Kurani said. "We have the technology to cut emissions, to gain energy independence, and to boost our economy."
John Lucio is a fellow engineer and the only other republican besides Calvert running for the 41st district. He lives in Corona and commutes to his job in Irvine; he says he’d rather work closer to home. "But the jobs that pay the money are (in) Orange County and L.A.," Lucio said. "I spend half my day in traffic on the 91 freeway in the toll roads; I think we need to create better jobs out in this region besides warehousing."
Lucio says warehousing jobs are not the right fit for the region. "Right now, all we're really seeing... there's just this boom of fulfillment centers and warehouse jobs and logistics, which are just more trucks on our roads," Lucio said.
The expanding warehouse industry is also a concern for candidate Anna Nevenic, who's running as an independent. "Wherever you go, it's warehouses, warehouses to store the stuff," Nevenic said.
Nevenic says more warehouses have also meant worse air quality and more trucks on Inland Empire roads. "The reason we have so much pollution is because of these thousands of trucks who bring this stuff in," Nevenic said.
Congressman Calvert has the endorsement of the California GOP and of former President Donald Trump. Calvert has been a staunch supporter of Trump and voted against certifying the 2020 presidential election.
All of Calvert's challengers blasted his vote to decertify, including one who was close to the situation. "I helped D.C. track down some of the two-dozen people in Southern California who attacked the U.S. Capitol on January 6," said democrat and former federal prosecutor Will Rollins.
"Just a few hours after 140 police officers were injured, five later dying as a result of the attack, Ken Calvert voted to overturn the election," Rollins said. "(Calvert) did exactly what the people attacking the Capitol told him to do, and the truth is, that's what motivated me to get into this race."
Despite a lack of evidence proving election fraud, Rep. Ken Calvert defends his vote. "The election certification took place, and that's behind us," Calvert said. "Right now, I'm focused on inflation, the border crime, and what's ahead of us to the people in this new congressional district to better their lives."
And now it's up for the voters to decide if they still want Calvert to represent them.