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California - 44th District

Incumbent -- Ken Calvert (R) ; Running for re-election

Safe Republican
Race Ratings Key
 

Updated Dec. 1, 2009

A very close call in 2008 ended a string of easy victories for Calvert and alerted both Democrats and Republicans to his potential vulnerability in the upcoming election. So did the 1 percentage-point edge 44th District voters gave to Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama just four years after they favored President George W. Bush by 19 points at the top of the Republican ticket.

Calvert, in his ninth term in a Riverside County district in Southern California, was dogged during his 2008 campaign by accusations of past ethical improprieties, including allegations that he used congressional spending earmarks for personal gain.

Calvert now faces competition in both the 2010 GOP primary and the general election. Commercial real estate broker Chris Riggs has established a campaign for the Republican nomination. Hedrick, the 2008 Democratic challenger and president of the Rialto Education Association, is seeking a rematch.

Calvert was one of first group of 10 potentially vulnerable House Republicans who joined together to form the Patriot Day Committee, which will allow them to hold joint fundraising activities and split the proceeds among their campaign treasuries.

 

District Information

District Profile from Politics in America

A residential district that lies east of Los Angeles and north of San Diego, the 44th contains about one-third of Riverside County's residents and takes in the southeastern portion of Orange County that borders San Diego County. The Orange County areas include coastal San Clemente, a premier surfing spot, and Santa Ana Mountain forests.

The 44th is the 25th-largest district in the nation, according to the 2010 census. Much of the population growth in Riverside County, where more than four-fifths of the district's residents live, has been among the Latino population. Nearly half of the 44th's portion of the county is now Hispanic, and the district as a whole is 43 percent Hispanic.

Riverside County's traffic congestion, especially from white-collar workers who commute to Orange or Los Angeles counties, remains an issue despite a recent expansion of Route 91. The area's high levels of air pollution make it part of the greater-Los Angeles "smog belt."

The manufacturing sector still contributes to the local economy, but job losses have been widespread. In Riverside, farmland is being driven farther east and out of the district as the Los Angeles area continues to expand. Water issues threaten citrus, grape, date and avocado crops, and once-prevalent dairy farms are now scarce.

Registered Republicans outnumber Democrats here. The district's portion of Orange County is strongly Republican, but the more blue-collar Riverside communities and the areas around the University of California, Riverside, lean Democratic. Barack Obama edged John McCain here by less than 1 percentage point in the 2008 presidential election, but GOP gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman took a 12-percentage-point win 2010.

Major Industry

Manufacturing, agriculture, health care

Military Bases

Naval Surface Warfare Center, Corona Division, 6 military, 990 civilian (2011)

Cities

Riverside, 303,871; Corona, 152,374; San Clemente, 63,522

notable

Riverside's Mission Inn was the site of Richard and Pat Nixon's wedding, and Ronald and Nancy Reagan stopped there while honeymooning.

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