Democrat Will Rollins narrowly lost his congressional race last cycle to long-time incumbent and anti-gay Republican Ken Calvert. Now, the out gay national security and terrorism prosecutor is running to unseat Calvert again.
Rollins announced his candidacy recently for California’s 41st district, which was redrawn to include Palm Springs, the self-proclaimed “gayest city in America.” Previously a conservative stronghold, the Inland Empire district now has a near-even voter registration split among Democrats and Republicans.
While Rollins lost the 2022 race by a 52.3% to 47.7% margin, he impressively matched Calvert’s fundraising prowess-a big feat for a first-time candidate running against a 20-year incumbent (Calvert was first elected to Congress in 1993).
In Rollins’ campaign launch video, he pledges to “finish the job” this time around.
Rollins spoke to Queerty about his candidacy last November, and said Calvert is too extreme and corrupt to represent the district any longer. “Folks on both sides of the aisle are standing up for the rule of law and want to stand against somebody who’s willing to undermine our democracy like Ken Calvert,” he said.
Calvert, who’s consistently ranked as one of the most corrupt members of Congress, also has an ignominious history of supporting anti-LGBTQ+ legislation. He got his political start 30 years ago by outing his closeted Democrat opponent, Mark Takano. Since then, he’s voted against allowing queer people to serve openly in the U.S. military and against protecting LGBTQ+ workers from discrimination.
Rollins highlights Calvert’s corruption in a new campaign video: House of Reps Television (HRTV). The HGTV parody is hilarious and cutting.
In the opening minute, Rollins recounts a 2006 incident in which Calvert personally benefitted from a federal funding request. The congressman bought property in Riverside, and secured funds to build a highway exchange near his land, increasing the sale price to nearly $1 million.
“You’ve seen house-flipping shows before. They buy a run-down property and fix it up. But this is no ordinary house-flipping show. Meet Ken Calvert, land speculator turned congressman, using your tax dollars to increase the value of his properties—flipping trash into cash,” Rollins says.
In a rare example of political self-deprecation, an actor in the video says he “can’t believe” somebody lost last year’s election to Calvert. The camera cuts to Rollins taking a sip of his beer.
If elected, Rollins would be the second openly gay man from California to serve in congress. He told Queerty he loves to spend lazy Saturdays shopping with his partner around Palm Springs.
“Paulo has helped me re-establish my wardrobe at a very low cost, so that’s been fun,” he said.
If Rollins wins, he’ll presumably need a lot more suit jackets and ties to fill out his wardrobe. That sounds like a great shopping trip to us!
We’ll be keeping an eye on Rollins as he gears up for his rematch, and looks to represent the 41st district sans corruption scandals and anti-gay bigotry.
The redrawing of California districts before the last election deprived Palm Springs residents of their voice — there’s a real disconnect between communities encompassed by this new district. Glad to hear Rollins is getting an early start on his campaign; I hope he gets out the vote this time.
Go Will go..Unseat that CORRUPT republithug Calvert.. He’s probably at the bath house or the arcade doing ” in depth ” constituent research !!