David Valadao and Rudy Salas Progress to Narrow California Congressional Election Rematch

Credits: KGET.com

Rep. David Valadao, a Republican from Hanford, and former Assemblyman Rudy Salas, a Democrat from Bakersfield, are gearing up for a hotly contested November election rematch.

The Associated Press projected their advancement from the March 5 primary, signaling relief for Democrats who feared being left without a candidate on the ballot in this predominantly Democratic district.

With approximately 97% of the votes counted, Valadao secured 33% of the vote, while Salas garnered 30.6%, according to the AP. Republican Chris Mathys, a rancher and businessman, followed with 22.4%, and State Sen. Melissa Hurtado, a Democrat from Bakersfield, trailed with 14.1%.

David Valadao and Rudy Salas (Credits: Los Angeles Times)

This left-leaning congressional district, currently held by a Republican, is a key battleground for both parties. Democrats are striving to flip California’s 22nd Congressional District, which analysts predict will be a toss-up in November.

Salas, who narrowly missed victory against Valadao in the November 2022 election, expressed confidence in his ability to win this time. National Democrats threw their support behind him, fearing a potential lockout from the primary.

However, Hurtado’s challenge raised concerns among Democrats about their chances in the primary. Meanwhile, Mathys, a staunch supporter of former President Donald Trump, confronted Valadao over his vote to impeach Trump.

In response to the AP’s call, Valadao expressed gratitude for his support and pledged to continue working hard to earn voters’ trust in November.

In November, this and other battleground races will determine which party controls the House majority in 2025. Despite the district’s Democratic leanings, low voter turnout, particularly among younger and Latino voters, has often favored conservative candidates.

David Valadao and Rudy Salas (Credits: Los Angeles Times)

Valadao, who has represented the district for nearly a decade, faces a formidable challenge from Salas, a seasoned politician with necessary support among Democrats.

The 22nd Congressional District, with its Latino-majority electorate, spans most of Kings County and parts of Kern and Tulare counties. While Democrats hold a registration advantage, turnout dynamics and candidate positioning will be crucial in determining the election outcome.

The race in the 22nd District is one of several toss-up contests in California, including the 13th District, where Rep. John Duarte faces off against former Assemblyman Adam Gray in a rematch.

As the 2024 presidential cycle unfolds, candidates like Valadao must navigate the impact of Trump’s influence on the electorate, especially among Latino voters, to secure victory in November.

I'm Richard Rosales, I cover political news and ongoing US elections.