Rep. David Valadao defeated Democratic Assemblyman Rudy Salas in California's 22nd Congressional District.
The 22nd District is located in the Central Valley and includes Hanford, where Valadao was born and raised.
Valadao joined the ranks of the very few incumbents who voted to impeach Trump to still emerge victorious.
Republican Rep. David Valadao defeated Democrat Assemblyman Rudy Salas in California's 22nd Congressional District.
Polls closed in the state at 8 p.m. local time, or 11 p.m. EST.
California's 22nd Congressional District candidates
Valadao was one of the few House Republicans who voted to impeach President Donald Trump.
The former president, however, endorsed a challenger to every GOP member of the House who voted to impeach him — except Valadao.
The Hanford Republican has represented the Central Valley in Congress since 2012. After conceding to former Rep. TJ Cox in 2018, Valadao reclaimed his seat in 2020. His victory came even when President Joe Biden carried the district by 10 points.
The child of Portuguese immigrants, Valadao has advocated for immigration reform — he broke rank with his own party and voted against a bill that would have ended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program spearheaded by the Obama administration. He is staunchly opposed to policies expanding access to abortion.
Salas, a member of the California State Assembly representing District 32, replaced then-first-term incumbent Valadao's seat in 2012 when he declined to run for reelection and instead sought a congressional bid for California's 21st Congressional District. Since then, he has emerged successful in all of his reelection campaigns.
He led Valadao in the 2022 nonpartisan primary election, clinching 45.4% of the vote to Valadao's 25.6%.
Similar to Valadao, Salas has represented the agricultural heart of California since 2012 and has supported Latino students' education. Had he been elected, Salas would have been the first Latino from the Central Valley to enter the House of Representatives. According to the Census Bureau, the Hispanic population constitutes more than half of the total population in the district.
Voting history for California's 22nd Congressional District
California's 22nd Congressional District is located in the Central Valley and includes Delano, Porterville, Hanford — where Valadao was born and raised — and portions of Bakersfield.
President Joe Biden scored an 11 percentage point margin of victory over Trump under the district's previous boundaries in 2020 before it was redrawn to exclude Fresno County in redistricting following the 2020 Census, making it slightly more Democratic.
The money race
According to OpenSecrets, Valadao raised $3.4 million, spent $2.8 million, and had $795,060 of cash on hand, as of October 19. His opponent, Salas, raised $2.6 million, spent $2.2 million, and had $428,649 of cash still left to spend, as of October 19.
As of early November, super PACs, national party committees, and other non-candidate groups combined to spend about $25.5 million to advocate for or against candidates in this race, including the primary. Such spending was on the high end of outside spending among House races nationwide.
What experts say
The race between Valadao and Salas was rated as a "toss-up" by Inside Elections, a "toss-up" by The Cook Political Report, and a "toss-up" by Sabato's Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia Center for Politics.
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