Republican Rep. David Valadao will win re-election over Democratic challenger Rudy Salas for California’s 22nd congressional district, projects The Associated Press.
Valadao, who currently represents California’s 21st district, was seeking re-election in the neighboring district after Congressional lines were redrawn in the state. The district now includes portions of Kern, Kings, and Tulare counties.
The high-stakes race was one of 10 key California contests in the Nov. 8 midterm election that could ultimately decide whether Republicans regain control of the House of Representatives.
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Valadao is one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump for his alleged role in the Jan. 6 Capitol riots, and Democrats saw the election as an opportunity to capitalize on his vote. The redrawn county lines also added more Democratic voters who preferred Democrats.
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In the June 7 primary, Salas and Valadao defeated Chris Mathys and Adam Thomas Medeiros in the California jungle primary. Salas, the only Democratic candidate, received 45.4% of the total vote, while Valadao received 25.6% in a contest with two other Republicans. Together, Republicans received 54.6% of the total vote.
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Valadao was first elected to Congress in 2012, where he served from 2013 to 2019. He narrowly lost a rematch in 2018 by 862 votes, but won right away at the next election and reclaimed the seat.
California’s 22nd district has historically favored the Democrats, voting 55.5% for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election to Trump’s 38.9%.
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The district’s vote was a bit narrower in 2020, when it voted in support of President Joe Biden at 55.4% versus Trump’s 42.1%.
Biden visited California in October to rally support and raise money for at-risk Democrats.