Democratic Challenger Concedes To GOP Congressman Who Supported Trump Impeachment

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Arjun Singh Contributor
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Democratic candidate Rudy Salas conceded to Republican Rep. David Valadao on Tuesday in the House election for California’s 22nd District.

Valadao, a four-term congressman representing California’s 21st District but running for the newly-redistricted 22nd District, was reelected with 51.7% of the vote, according to the AP following Salas’ concession. The district he represents covers Fresno in Central California and voted for Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election.

Valadao is only the second Republican congressman who supported Trump’s second impeachment to have been reelected to Congress. Ten Republicans in the House voted for the single article of impeachment against Trump in the days after Jan. 6, with Valadao and Rep. Dan Newhouse of Washington being the only ones reelected. (RELATED: Ten House Republicans Voted To Impeach Trump — Here’s What Happened To Them)

Valadao advanced to the general election with 25.6% of the vote, compared to Salas’ 45.4%. Both Republican and Democratic candidates were on the ballot per California’s jungle primary system, where all candidates compete in one primary and the top two candidates advance regardless of party affiliation.

Valadao was challenged by Trump-supporting Republican candidate Chris Mathys, who won 23.1% of the primary vote. Mathys, however, was not formally endorsed by Trump.

The remaining Republican representatives mostly lost their primary elections against Trump-supported challengers, with the most high-profile loss being that of Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming to Harriet Hageman, who was eventually elected to the seat. Others chose to retire from Congress, such as Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois.

Even as the former President sought to remove dissenters from the party’s congressional ranks, many Trump-endorsed GOP nominees lost to Democratic challengers. The win of Marie Gluesenkamp Perez, a Democrat, in Washington’s 3rd Congressional District over Trump-endorsed GOP nominee Joe Kent, came as a surprise to many observers, given the district’s Cook Partisan Voting Index Score of R+5.

Salas sought to prioritize prescription drug pricing, healthcare and farmworkers’ rights, while Valadao prioritized agricultural productivity issues, veterans’ care and water access, the last of which has been a key issue as Western states face a prolonged drought.

The district is predominantly Latino and encompasses rural areas as well as farmland.

Salas’ concession makes for Valadao’s fourth successful campaign for Congress, having previously represented the area in the House from 2013 to 2019 when he lost re-election to T.J. Cox, whom he beat later in the 2020 election.

Valadao’s win gives House Republicans their 220th seat in the chamber, with a majority being 218. The size of the conference is slim in relation to earlier projections of a “red wave,” which did not materialize.

Valadao and the House Republican Conference did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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