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Two Democrats look to unseat longtime Republican Congressman Ken Calvert

Two Democrats have their eyes set on unseating longtime Republican Congressman Ken Calvert. Calvert is being challenged by Will Rollins and Anna Nevenic, who both sought to turn the district blue in the 2022 midterms.

Congressman Ken Calvert has represented large swaths of Riverside County in Congress for more than 30 years.

Calvert is running for reelection in the 41st Congressional District, which was redrawn in 2022 to include Palm Springs, La Quinta and Palm Desert. Redistricting made Calvert’s constituency less conservative. The district also includes Corona, Menifee and Lake Elsinore.

He says voters in his district have three major concerns— immigration, inflation and crime.

“The biggest thing we can do is bring back Remain-in-Mexico policies that we had before President Biden took office and can continue to reinforce the border and bring more security along that border,” said Calvert.

Last month, a bipartisan immigration bill died on the Senate floor when only four Republicans voted for it.

Calvert voted to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas for his handling of the Southern Border. That resolution failed by a small margin when a small group of Republicans joined Democrats and voted to reject it.

The Republican from Corona, who's a member of the House Appropriations Committee, touted infrastructure improvements he helped bring to the district.

“We've had a lot of success for the Coachella Valley, we've got about $600,000 there to fix the Gene Autry Road. We have some money for the Palm Springs navigation center for the homeless problems that they're having there,” said Calvert.

Still, in 2021, Calvert voted against President Biden's Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill.

Calvert’s being challenged again by Will Rollins, a Democrat and former federal prosecutor. In 2022, Calvert won reelection against Rollins by 4.5 percent.

Rollins says he wants to reach across the aisle.

“I want to be somebody that Republicans can be proud to vote for. And to say, I'm different. There's much more in common that we have than what divides us,” said Rollins.

Rollins says he’ll prioritize restoring abortion rights to women across the country, help fund more infrastructure projects and form a taskforce to address crime in the Inland Empire.

He says he also wants to implement anti-corruption reforms.

“I've been campaigning on, you know, a ban on stock trades by current members of Congress, a lifetime ban on lobbying by former members of Congress, and then term limits,” said Rollins.

Last month, Rollins’ campaign surpassed Calvert’s in fundraising reports filed with the Federal Election Commission.

Anna Nevenic, another Democrat, is also running for Calvert’s seat. She says she’s not supported by large donors.

Nevenic, who is a registered nurse, says she wants to bolster the healthcare system and help support young people who have high levels of debt.

“So to me my number one issue is the young people… their future. And they are confronted with unbelievable problems including, you know, climate change and gun control. And not able to even pay their rent,” said Nevenic.

On Tuesday, it’s up to Riverside County voters to decide who will be on the November ballot.

This story was updated at 6:02 PM on 3/4/24.