In a Central Valley district, Republican U.S. Rep. David Valadao defeated Democrat Rudy Salas despite Salas’ significant Democratic registration lead and the negative effects of his support to impeach the then-President Donald Trump.
Monday night, with 98% of the votes in, Valadao had around 52% of the vote to Salas’ 48%, with a margin of about 3,400 votes.
After the Capitol uprising on January 6, Valadao was one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump. Only two of the ten were reelected, and he and Republican Rep. Dan Newhouse of Washington are the other two. Others resigned or lost to opponents in the Republican primary who had Trump’s support.
Democrats have a stunning 17-point registration advantage in the state’s farmland’s 22nd District. However, Valadao has previously used a nonpartisan streak to win in districts with a left-leaning slant despite never being a Trump supporter. He retained his seat from 2013 until January 2019, vacated it for a term, and then defeated Democrat T.J. Cox to win it back.
Salas, a moderate state assemblyman, sparred with Valadao about health care, the opioid overdose issue, and gas.
Republicans had previously taken back control of the House. Republicans will hold 219 seats next year thanks to Valadao’s victory, while Democrats will hold 212. A few other undetermined races are still being counted.
Trump never really got involved in the contest, and Kevin McCarthy, the head of the House Republican caucus and a personal friend of the former president, endorsed dairy farmer and son of Portuguese immigrants Valadao.
In 2016, Valadao opposed then-candidate Trump; nevertheless, four years later, he backed his reelection.
However, Valadao occasionally sided against Trump’s administration, especially when he blasted it for separating families at the border. In one of his 2020 campaign ads, he touted himself as “an independent problem solver” and mentioned his collaboration with former President Barack Obama on regionally significant water issues.
He has referred to Trump as the instigator of the Capitol uprising on January 6. According to Valadao, Trump’s “inciting rhetoric was un-American, repugnant, and definitely an impeachable violation.”