Almanac A members-only database of searchable profiles compiled and adapted from the Almanac of American Politics

Biography

Elected: 1992, 11th term.

Born: June 8, 1953, Corona

Home: Corona

Education: Chaffey Col., 1972-73; San Diego St. U., B.A. 1975

Professional Career: Restaurant owner, 1975–80; Real estate broker, 1980–92; Chmn., Riverside Cnty. Repub. Party, 1984–88.

Ethnicity: White/Caucasian

Religion: Protestant

Family: divorced

Ken Calvert, a Republican first elected in 1992, is less conservative and outspoken than many of his firebrand colleagues from California, but he has been a Republican team player and is an ally of GOP Speaker John Boehner, who put him on the leadership-run Steering Committee. He also holds a plum spot on the Appropriations Committee, where he has accumulated seniority.

Calvert grew up in Corona. While in college, he was a congressional intern at the Senate Watergate hearings of 1973. Later, he ran the family restaurant back home and, in 1980, got into the commercial real estate business. In 1982, at age 29, he ran for Congress in a district that included almost all of Riverside County and lost a nine-candidate primary to Al McCandless by 868 votes. In 1992, he ran in a new district and won the primary with 28% of the vote. His Democratic opponent was Mark Takano, a middle-school teacher who had the support of teachers’ unions and Japanese-Americans. Calvert beat Takano by 519 votes (Takano was elected to represent the 41st District in 2012.)

Soon after he was elected, Calvert ran into trouble at home when the Riverside Press-Enterprise reported that he had been stopped by police with a prostitute in his car. Calvert apologized and said that he was upset because his wife had divorced him the month before and his father had recently committed suicide. His opponents in 1994 used the incident against him. Calvert won the primary 51%-49%, with only an 884-vote margin, against business Professor Joseph Khoury. Takano, running again in the general election, ran an ad that accused Calvert of “flagrant womanizing.” But with the Republican tide that year, Calvert won 55%-38%.

In the House, Calvert has compiled a moderate-to-conservative voting record. He broke with most GOP colleagues in 2008 by supporting housing finance legislation, citing his district’s high foreclosure rate. And in March 2012, he committed Republican heresy by publicly criticizing radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh, telling the Riverside Press-Enterprise that the broadcaster “put gas on the fire” by describing as a “slut” a Georgetown University student who spoke in favor of contraception coverage under the new health insurance law.

In each of the last two Congresses, Calvert has introduced bills to open more of California’s coast to offshore drilling, something many Democrats oppose. He has been a major backer of E-Verify, an online system he helped create that allows employers to confirm the eligibility of new hires. Critics have faulted the system’s accuracy, while farm groups have complained it has hurt their efforts to recruit workers. In 2009, Calvert worked to get a statue of Ronald Reagan placed in the Capitol’s Statuary Hall, alongside the statues of other presidents and prominent Americans.

Calvert initially served on the Resources and Science committees, but left in 2007 after snagging a coveted seat on Appropriations, where he aggressively sought spending earmarks for his district. In fiscal year 2010, taxpayer groups criticized him for more than $33 million in solo provisions, the third-largest amount in the California delegation behind then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Appropriations ranking Republican Jerry Lewis. Yet he found fault with President Barack Obama’s spending initiatives and in 2010, he signed on to Lewis’ bill to return billions of unspent economic stimulus dollars to the U.S. Treasury.

In 2003, Calvert abandoned his 1992 pledge to serve only 12 years in Congress. He was reelected easily anyway. In recent years, his ethics have been called into question by his reelection opponents. In 2006, the Los Angeles Times reported that he and his real estate partner had bought a four-acre tract for $550,000, then sold it less than a year later for $985,000, after Calvert secured an $8 million spending earmark for expansion of a nearby freeway interchange. Calvert denied wrongdoing, noting that it was not illegal for a member of Congress to make personal investments. A year later, when Calvert was tapped to replace the ethically tainted Rep. John Doolittle, R-Calif., on Appropriations, the story came back to haunt him. Conservative bloggers reacted angrily to his selection.

In 2008, Calvert had a close contest against Democrat Bill Hedrick, a Corona-Norco school board member who was poorly funded and had no national party help. Hedrick benefited not just from Calvert’s ethics problems, but also from Obama’s success in the district. Calvert won by only a little more than 6,000 votes, 51.2% to 48.8%. He was rescued by his nearly 15,000 vote-lead in the heavily Republican Orange County portion of what was then the 44th District.

Hedrick returned for a rematch in 2010. This time, he got help from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which ran ads slamming Calvert for voting against the economic stimulus bill, children’s health legislation, and other initiatives. But the National Republican Congressional Committee stepped in to help Calvert, and the DCCC eventually turned its focus to more-winnable races. Calvert won 55%-45%, spending more than $1.5 million to Hedrick’s $493,000.

In the new 42nd District, which is safe Republican turf, Calvert won with 61% of the vote in 2012. After the election, he took over as chairman of the California Republican Congressional Delegation, which meets weekly to find ways to work together on statewide issues.

Office Contact Information

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-1986

(202) 225-2004

RHOB- Rayburn House Office Building Room 2205
Washington, DC 20515-0542

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-1986

(202) 225-2004

RHOB- Rayburn House Office Building Room 2205
Washington, DC 20515-0542

DISTRICT OFFICE

(951) 277-0042

(951) 277-0420

4160 Temescal Canyon Road Suite 214
Corona, CA 92883-4624

DISTRICT OFFICE

(951) 277-0042

(951) 277-0420

4160 Temescal Canyon Road Suite 214
Corona, CA 92883-4624

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

(951) 784-1811

63 West Grand Boulevard
Corona, CA 92882

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

63 West Grand Boulevard
Corona, CA 92882

Staff

Sort by: Interest Name Title

Abortion

Molly Lowe
Legislative Assistant

molly.lowe@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-1986

Agriculture

Ian Foley
Legislative Assistant

ian.foley@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-1986

Appropriations

Ian Foley
Legislative Assistant

ian.foley@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-1986

Budget

Molly Lowe
Legislative Assistant

molly.lowe@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-1986

Education

Molly Lowe
Legislative Assistant

molly.lowe@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-1986

Gun Issues

Ian Foley
Legislative Assistant

ian.foley@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-1986

Immigration

Rebecca Keightley
Legislative Director

Intelligence

Rebecca Keightley
Legislative Director

Internet

Molly Lowe
Legislative Assistant

molly.lowe@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-1986

Military

Rebecca Keightley
Legislative Director

Rocky Checca
Military Fellow

Native Americans

Ian Foley
Legislative Assistant

ian.foley@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-1986

Privacy

Molly Lowe
Legislative Assistant

molly.lowe@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-1986

Social Security

Molly Lowe
Legislative Assistant

molly.lowe@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-1986

Tax

Molly Lowe
Legislative Assistant

molly.lowe@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-1986

Technology

Molly Lowe
Legislative Assistant

molly.lowe@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-1986

Telecommunications

Ian Foley
Legislative Assistant

ian.foley@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-1986

Molly Lowe
Legislative Assistant

molly.lowe@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-1986

Transportation

Ian Foley
Legislative Assistant

ian.foley@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-1986

Veterans

Rebecca Keightley
Legislative Director

Welfare

Molly Lowe
Legislative Assistant

molly.lowe@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-1986

Election Results

2012 GENERAL
Ken Calvert
Votes: 130,245
Percent: 60.59%
Michael Williamson
Votes: 84,702
Percent: 39.41%
2012 PRIMARY
Ken Calvert
Votes: 35,392
Percent: 51.34%
Michael Williamson
Votes: 9,860
Percent: 14.3%
Cliff Smith
Votes: 7,377
Percent: 10.7%
Clayton Thibodeau
Votes: 6,374
Percent: 9.25%
Eva Johnson
Votes: 5,678
Percent: 8.24%
Curt Novak
Votes: 4,254
Percent: 6.17%
2010 GENERAL
Ken Calvert
Votes: 107,482
Percent: 55.61%
Bill Hedrick
Votes: 85,784
Percent: 44.39%
2010 PRIMARY
Ken Calvert
Votes: 37,327
Percent: 66.28%
Chris Riggs
Votes: 18,994
Percent: 33.72%
2008 GENERAL
Ken Calvert
Votes: 129,937
Percent: 51.19%
Bill Hedrick
Votes: 123,890
Percent: 48.81%
2008 PRIMARY
Ken Calvert
Votes: 32,702
Percent: 100.0%
Prior Winning Percentages
2010 (56%), 2008 (51%), 2006 (60%), 2004 (62%), 2002 (64%), 2000 (74%), 1998 (56%), 1996 (55%), 1994 (55%), 1992 (47%)

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