Republican Rep. David Valadao will win re-election over Democratic challenger Rudy Salas for California’s 22nd Congressional District, The Associated Press projects.
Valadao, who is currently representing California’s 21st District, sought 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 elections, which could ultimately determine if Republicans regain a majority in the House of Representatives.
Valadao is one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump over his alleged role in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot and Democrats saw the election as an opportunity to capitalize on his vote. The newly redrawn district lines also added more Democratic voters, favoring Democrats.
In the June 7 primary, Salas and Valadao defeated Chris Mathys and Adam Thomas Medeiros in California’s jungle primary system. Salas, the only Democratic candidate took 45.4% of the total vote while Valadao took 25.6% in a contest with two other Republicans. Together, the Republicans took 54.6% of the total vote.
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 triumphed in the very next election, reclaiming the seat.
California’s 22nd district has historically favored Democrats, voting to back Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election with 55.5% over Trump’s 38.9%.
The district’s vote was somewhat closer in 2020, with it voting to back President Joe Biden with 55.4% to Trump’s 42.1%.
Biden visited California in October to rally support and raise money for vulnerable Democrats.