PAF in the Bay Area Reporter: Gay CA House candidate Rollins launches TV ads

Bay Area Reporter
Bay Area Reporter

An increasingly confident gay candidate for a Southern California House seat launched his first TV ads this week. Two political action committees supporting the first-time contender for political office also dropped their own online ads in recent days attacking the Republican incumbent he is aiming to defeat in the November 8 election.

Will Rollins, a former federal prosecutor who lives with his partner in Canyon Lake, is running against conservative Congressmember Ken Calvert (R-Corona) in the state’s new 41st Congressional District. Due to the decennial redistricting process, the House seat now incorporates a large part of the gay retirement and tourist mecca Palm Springs.

In a sign of how LGBTQ voters could play kingmaker in this year’s race, Calvert, 69, was one of a handful of GOP congressmembers running in more purple districts this year voting in support of the Marriage Equality Act, despite his track record of voting against same-sex marriage. The federal bill now awaits an expected vote in the coming weeks by the U.S. Senate.

But Calvert, who took the top spot in the primary with 48.2%, is still favored to win reelection by political prognosticators. Larry J. Sabato, director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics, continues to list the seat as likely staying in the GOP column in his Sabato’s Crystal Ball ratings.

The Cook report, however, has changed its rating for the race from “likely Republican” to “lean Republican.” Meanwhile, outside groups aligned with the Democratic Party are sensing there is a good chance of defeating Calvert this year and dropped digital ads attacking him in recent days.

An ad from the Progress Action Fund PAC highlights Calvert’s ties to pastor Tim Thompson, who is quoted as saying that same-sex marriage and transgender people are part of “Satan’s wicked plans.”

Rollins plans to roll out two more of his own campaign ads in the coming weeks hitting at Calvert’s record. And he is targeting more moderate Republicans fed up with where their party has gone under the sway of Trump and right-wing factions to consider casting their ballot for him.

“Dear Republicans: I’m pro-small business and I worked in law enforcement. Give me 2 years in Congress to clean up after Corrupt Ken, and if I suck at the job, you can bring him back in 2024,” Rollins wrote in a recent tweet.

He told the B.A.R. it is aimed at the roughly 14,000 Republicans who have left their party since the January 6, 2021 insurrection. Combined with the 40% of Republicans who reject Trump’s “Big Lie” that he won the last presidential election, Rollins believes they could be persuaded to support him come November 8.

“I know some moderate Republicans in there who are getable. I want to make the case for them: I am the better choice in November and that includes on issues that affect small business owners and law enforcement,” said Rollins, who predicted his margin of victory would be 4%.

By Matthew S. Bajko

Read the full article in the Bay Area Reporter here