Your guide to California’s Congressional District 41 race: Rep. Ken Calvert vs. Will Rollins
Updated | 4:18 pm: The race of California’s 42nd Congressional District is shaping up to be one of the most closely watched contests in the nation. Republicans are hoping to win a seat that has been in Democratic hands for a full 40 years — and they are pouring money into a campaign that could put the issue of President Obama’s political legacy front and center of the primary.
The candidates are each running on a different track of ideas and positions, but they’re all looking to win the election by a comfortable margin.
In the primary, two of the top candidates are the Republicans, Reps. Ken Calvert, of Santa Clara, and Will Rollins, of Hayward. Each has a solid chance of winning the seat.
Here’s an overview of their positions and how they are competing in the June primary:
The Republican congressman is the top GOP candidate, though his own party’s vote totals are not as high as his opponent’s.
In 2010, Rollins won his first election by 1,600 votes after redistricting; Calvert is on track to win his second by about 800.
Calvert is a second-term incumbent. Last November, he won 56 percent of the vote, with Rollins taking 23 percent. That’s compared with the current Democratic incumbent, Rep. Xavier Becerra, who won 54 percent of the vote — plus or minus 10.
Some of the problems voters have with the race are the same ones that have long held back Democrats — Calvert has had to deal with the national focus on the financial crisis; he’s faced questions about the role the public sector plays in the current budget debate; and he has had to deal with redistricting reform. Some voters say Calvert has fallen out of touch with his district, while others are skeptical of his record on issues such as redistricting.
The Democratic front-runner is former state Sen. Mark Leno of San Francisco. He’s seeking his first elected office and has an enviable fundraising history that has made him the top candidate in