Barbara Boxer was retired, now involved in Southern California race

WASHINGTON — One morning in late December last year, a Rancho Mirage retiree woke up like many of her neighbors dismayed to find that the state’s redistricting commission had placed her in a new congressional district — a Republican one. She decided to get involved, and started to volunteer her time with a campaign.

It was Barbara Boxer, the former senator and victor in 11 California political contests before her retirement in 2017.

Boxer, a former Bay Area resident, has largely retired to the Palm Springs area, where she helped in 2012 to flip a formerly GOP congressional seat to elect Rep. Raul Ruiz of Palm Desert to represent the Coachella Valley. But California’s citizen redistricting commission last year split the valley into two, placing the part she lives in with the western part of Riverside County, a district represented by Republican Rep. Ken Calvert of Corona.

“As a Democrat, you worked so hard to get Raul Ruiz elected, he’s incredible; you wake up the next day, and your congressman is going to be Ken Calvert — you ask yourself, ‘Wait a minute, am I on the moon?'” Boxer recalled.

Boxer has now thrown herself into the campaign to unseat Calvert — a race that Democrats in Riverside County say is a sleeper.

Boxer chats with Stewart Boxer (left), her husband, and candidate Will Rollins at their Rancho Mirage home.

Martina Albertazzi/Special to The Chronicle

“I’m in the total middle of it,” Boxer said. “I’m working so hard. I’m a volunteer, and I’m having the best time because I know I can make a difference.”

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