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In-depth look at multi-million dollar race for the newly created 41st Congressional District

One of the races to watch here in the valley is the 41st Congressional District.

The newly created district includes a number of west and mid-valley cities -- and is being targeted by both parties making it a multi-million dollar race.

Both candidates are confident going into the final stretch and both are well funded.

Incumbent Republican Ken Calvert has raised more than he ever has in 30 years, $2.3 million dollars.

The challenger, Democrat Will Rollins, has brought in nearly one-and-a-half million.

Brendan Glavin is a senior data analyst for "open secrets" which tracks campaign financing.

"Based on these numbers, I would put Rollins fundraising well into that range of, you know, viability," Glavin said.

The new 41st district is a very evenly divided district with a large chunk of the Coachella Valley, Palm Springs through La Quinta now connected with the more conservative western half of the county.

The end result, as of August 22, Democrats now have an advantage of over 1,600 registered voters in the district. 

The last time Calvert won in the 42nd district, he had an advantage of nearly 30,00 registered voters. He doesn't think it'll hurt him.

"You have independent voters, which in this district are relatively conservative.  And John, I've represented 80 percent of this district. So, I know it quite well," Calvert said.

Rollins thinks the math will give him the edge.

"Since January, Republicans have lost about 1,000 voters in this congressional district.  Since January, Democrats have picked up about 2,000," Rollins said.

Rollins thinks that surge is largely because of the supreme court's decision overturning Roe v. Wade and is pressing the issue heavily.

"Ken Calvert is using his power to undermine our democracy and take away women's rights," Rollins said in a campaign ad.

Calvert is pro-life but thinks the issue should be decided by the states.

"'In California, abortion is going to be legal.  Let's face it.  I think most at the end of the day, most states will probably choose that path," Calvert said.

This race is an example of what's happening around the country. Democrats are staying focused on social issues like abortion, while Republicans say it's all about the economy.

"I'm Ken Calvert, every time we get gas or check out at the grocery story, we feel the pain of Bidenflation," Calvert said in a campaign ad.

"I think if he really wanted to do something about inflation, he would have voted against oil companies price gouging consumers and he had the opportunity to do that as a sitting member of Congress," Rollins said in response to the ad.

New ads are emerging in the race from outside organizations going after Calvert.

This one is from Equality California Votes:

"Corrupt Calvert secured tax dollars to fund projects near his real estate developments, then sold it," the ad says.

"The money I was able to obtain for that interchange was 20 miles from the property I own," Calvert said in response to the ad.

Another ad goes after Calvert from the Progress Action Fund:

"On November 8th, Say no to hate, so no to Ken Calvert," the ad says.

John White spoke with Rollins about this ad.

"Not your campaign ad, but would you stand by that?" White asked.

"Yeah, it's accurate. I mean, I think people should look at his record. His record is, going all the way back to when he was first elected, outing his political opponent as a political strategy," Rollins answered.

The Cook Political Report ranks the district as "lean" Republican.

Politico still has it as "likely" Republican.

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Both men say they're going into the final weeks, confident they will prevail.

"It's going to be a good year to be a Republican, John," Calvert said.

"We just need to run on the strength of our ideas, and we'll pull out a victory in November," Rollins said.

Rollins has challenged Calvert to a debate, Calvert says he has no interest at this point.

We'll learn more about their fundraising next month when we get their quarterly reports.

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John White

John White anchors News Channel 3 Live at 5:00 p.m., 6:00 p.m., and 11:00 p.m.on KESQ-TV and CBS Local 2. Learn more about John here.

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