Republican Rep. Ken Calvert defeats Democrat Will Rollins to hold Riverside County seat
RIVERSIDE COUNTY, Calif. — Democratic Rep. Ken Calvert defeated Republican Will Rollins in an upset in the 11th District Tuesday night after a campaign focused on the economy, jobs and tax reform.
Calvert, a former Army helicopter pilot, received 58 percent of the vote, while Republican incumbent Will Rollins took just 33 percent of the vote. All three of the candidates received strong support from the liberal base of the district, but voters were more evenly divided on the tax and immigration issues.
Calvert and Rollins are both Republicans. Rollins also received two votes from independent Paul Aarons, who had received 18 percent of the vote in the 2014 primary. Rollins, now a local prosecutor, said the election was “a good example of the type of district we live in” because the district is “an older one with a lot of conservative-leaning people.”
“I feel this election is a good example of the type of district we live in,” Rollins said. He said he plans to run for reelection again in 2020. He said he didn’t expect to win, but said he is “happy with the outcome.”
“The race was not a referendum on me, but a referendum on the Republicans,” Rollins said.
Aarons, a retired insurance executive, said she felt she could compete for the seat he vacated. She also argued “a liberal Democrat should represent conservative values.” She said she is running “to restore the balance on the ballot box, not to replace someone.”
Calvert and Rollins are among five candidates running for the seat, which covers parts of southwestern Riverside County and the San Jacinto Mountains. The rest of the field includes former state Assemblyman Scott Baugh, political newcomer Paul Aarons, former congressional staffer John Stenstedt, and business executive Mark Eves.
Rollins was known for the support he received from the conservative faction of voters in the district.