PALM DESERT, Calif. — With the House majority on the line, the stakes are high and all eyes are on the 41st Congressional District in the Inland Empire.

What You Need To Know

  • Before redistricting, the 41st Congressional District made up the city of Riverside and surrounding areas, and now, the district stretches from Corona to Palm Springs

  • Historically, Republicans held a voter registration advantage of about 264, but now, there are about 3,000 more registered Democrat voters in the district

  • House Republicans have one of the smallest majorities in history 

  • The race for the 41st Congressional District seat is a rematch of 2022 between Republican incumbent Ken Calvert and Democrat Will Rollins, who lost last time by less than five percentage points

Redistricting made the 41st one of the most competitive districts in the country — and those leading grassroots efforts know it. 

“I’ve never seen anything like this, to be completely honest with you. It started last year. Normally, grass roots work really begins the year of an election. Not this time. We’ve been doing phone banking here since June of last year,” said Political Director at the Democratic Headquarters of the Desert, Elle Kerpiewski. 

That is because with House Republicans now having one of the smallest majorities in history, and Democrats see this election year as an opportunity to flip the house. 

This is the first time this area of the Inland Empire makes up the district, which was originally concentrated in the City of Riverside and surrounding area. However, it now stretches from Corona to Palm Springs. 

Republican incumbent Ken Calvert has held the position for the past thirty years, and is not a stranger to changes in district maps.

However, political expert and commissioner part of the California Citizen’s Redistricting Committee, Sara Sadhwani, says over the last ten years a growing number of people from Los Angeles has moved out of LA County and into San Bernardino and Riverside counties which has led to a significant demographic shift.

“When redistricting, we did not look at party registration at all, however, and now looking at it after the fact, Democrats have a slight advantage when it comes to voter registration,” Sadhwani said. 

Before redistricting, Republicans had a voter registration advantage of 264. Now, that has flipped and Democrats have a voter registration advantage of 3,183. 

Along with this, the race is also a rematch of 2022 between Republican incumbent Ken Calvert, and Democrat Will Rollins, who lost last time by less than 5% points. 

“So all eyes are on some of these districts in California, including the 41st, largely because the district has changed so much and also because Will Rollins had such a strong showing in that midterm election. So the balance of power in the House of Representatives is on the line and Democrats are looking to pick up seats wherever they can. And most certainly, this is on their hit list,” Sadhwani said. 

That is why Joy Miedecke, President of the East Valley Republican Women Patriots, says they have been writing postcards, have a voter registration booth on site and are collecting ballots. 

“They’re bringing them here. And then we travel, we count them, we make sure they’re signed correctly and we box them up and we transport them,” Miedecke said.

Although former President Trump has been vocal about his opposition to mail-in ballots, Miedecke says early voting it too important. She says it is why they are choosing to transport ballots directly to the registrar of voters’ office instead of dropping them in the mailbox. 

“Mainly what we want to do is make sure that because we’re a top two states, we get a Republican in every office to November. So that’s really important,” Miedecke said. 

The results from primaries are also a nod toward the presidential election outcome. 

“If we don’t have the Senate and the Congress backing him [Donald Trump] up, then he can’t do anything. So that’s why a seat like, you know, Ken Calvert’s is really important and why he has to be re-elected,” Miedecke said. 

On one hand, incumbent Ken Calvert is running on border security, crime and inflation. While Democrat Will Rollins is running on reproductive freedom, fighting gun violence and reminding voters that Calvert voted against certifying the election in 2020. 

Those are issues that are Kurpiewski says are important to her and does not see represented by Calvert. 

“Mr. Calvert has consistently voted against the environment. A bill was just introduced this past week for immigration and he voted against it,” said Kurpiewski.

That is also why Kurpiewski says they are focusing on voter turn-out. 

“We’re doing everything we can to ensure that people vote. And hopefully vote for the right people,” said Kurpiewski.

Both of them hope they can pull the numbers they need for their preferred candidate.