California 41st District
With the Pacific Coast well developed, young families have increasingly moved away from the high-cost, high-crime coast to the sunny, often hot, valleys inland. This impulse has resulted in rapid growth in the Central Valley, the repopulation of the Mother Lode country in the foothills of the Sierra, and the startling growth of the Inland Empire, at the eastern end of the Los Angeles Basin. This Inland Empire, generally defined as San Bernardino and Riverside counties, though other definitions abound—grew from 1.6 million people in 1980 to 3.2 million in 2000 to 4 million in 2007. “The L.A. dream still exists–it just moved east,” says author and California political analyst Joel Kotkin.
2008 Presidential Vote
|Cook Partisan Voting Index|
The 41st Congressional District covers some of the Inland Empire and the desert beyond the San Bernardino Mountains. It includes most of the land area of San Bernardino County, which with 20,052 square miles is the largest county in the United States and more than twice the size of New Jersey. Nearly half its population is concentrated in its southwest corner, in the Inland Empire, including the northern and eastern edges of San Bernardino and all of Loma Linda, Redlands, Highland, and Yucaipa; many of these small towns were founded by Midwesterners at the base of 10,000-foot mountains. The district also includes a number of towns in Riverside County just to the south: Calimesa, Beaumont, Banning, and San Jacinto. East of the mountains is the vast Mojave Desert, mostly uninhabited but with growing clusters of population. In the Victor Valley are Hesperia and Apple Valley, new towns in the desert with 156,000 people between them, and Victorville, another high-growth, high-desert community that was once home to cowboy actors Roy Rogers and Dale Evans. The district includes the mountain country around Lake Arrowhead and Big Bear Lake; Desert Hot Springs, the rustic town north of posh Palm Springs; and Twentynine Palms and the huge Twentynine Palms Marine Corps Base, the largest Marine base in the world and the Marines’ leading live-fire training facility. It also takes in the city of Needles, pop. 5,700, which often has the hottest temperature in the nation. The district has a fast-growing Hispanic population, which grew from 23% of the total in 2000 to 32% in 2007. This fast-growing area is Republican country. It voted 62%-37% for GOP President George W. Bush in 2004 and 54%-44% for Republican nominee John McCain in 2008.