Here are the 2022 California congressional races to watch

Former federal prosecutor Will Rollins, a Democrat, left, and Rep. Ken Calvert, a Republican.

(Associated Press)

Ken Calvert, 69, Republican incumbent

Calvert, the longest-serving GOP member of California’s congressional delegation, was first elected to Congress in 1992 to represent the Inland Empire.

Supporters praise the Corona native’s continued presence and accessibility in the region, as well as his work securing funding for regional priorities, including transportation and flood control projects, infrastructure upgrades and military installations in the region. He also authored legislation that created the E-Verify system, which allows employers to verify the immigration status of new hires.

His tenure is not without controversy. In 1993, police caught Calvert with a prostitute in his car; he was not charged and later confessed to the incident. During Calvert’s re-election campaign the following year, one of his allies outed his Democratic rival as gay, and Calvert’s campaign sent voters pink and purple letters suggesting that his opponent’s sexuality disqualified him from representing the district.

Calvert voted for 1996 The Defense of Marriage Act, which allowed states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages, and opposed the repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy for gay service members in the military. He points out that his views were shared by most politicians at the time. This year, he voted in favor of the Respect for Marriage Act, which would repeal the 1996 law, and he says the Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage should stand.

Calvert has said he does not support state abortion bans and that the issue should be left up to the states. He has said that he believes women should have the right to an abortion in the event of rape, incest, or if the pregnancy endangers the woman’s health, and that he opposes third-trimester abortions.

Hours after a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol, Calvert voted against certifying the Electoral College votes in Arizona and Pennsylvania, but he has acknowledged that Biden won the election legally. Calvert, who has been endorsed by Trump, voted against prosecution for inciting the Jan. 6 riot.

Calvert has raised nearly $2.4 million this election cycle and had $1.4 million in the bank as of June 30, according to filings with the FEC.

Will Rollins, 37, Democrat

Rollins says he became interested in public service after witnessing the collapse of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, when he was a junior at South Bay High School. He wanted to join the military after the terrorist attacks, but was living as a closeted gay man at the time, he said, and feared he might be kicked out.

Rollins became a lawyer and went to work for the Department of Justice’s National Security Division, focusing on counterintelligence and domestic terrorism cases in Southern California. His portfolio included the prosecution of the January 6 rebels.

He is one of a handful of Democratic congressional candidates who have made the siege of the Capitol central to their campaigns, saying the uprising and Calvert’s vote to throw out electoral votes in two states that supported Biden are among the reasons he decided to quit his job and run last year. He also considers the fight against disinformation and polarization a priority; protecting reproductive, voting, and LGBTQ rights; and working to address climate change and bring green energy jobs to Riverside County. She called the Supreme Court’s takedown of federal abortion protections “appalling” and supports codifying reproductive rights.

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

Rollins had a financial disadvantage in his most recent campaign fundraising disclosures: he raised nearly $1.5 million and had about $479,000 in the bank as of June 30, according to FEC filings.

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