Republicans are still favored to become the majority in the House of Representatives, but Democrats nationwide have performed better than expected, leaving a narrow possibility they could maintain their current House advantage. Three Valley races could tip the balance.
With half the total votes left to count in the race for newly drawn California Congressional District 13, Republican John Duarte leads Adam Gray by 203 votes. In District 9, Josh Harder’s lead of just under 10,000 votes over Republican Tom Patti is expected to hold up, even though only 43% of the total vote had been counted at the end of the day on November 9.
Farther south, Republican David Valadao’s lead of almost 3500 votes over Democrat Rudy Salas could change significantly with only 39% of the votes counted in a district where voter registration favors Democrats. However, low turnout throughout the Valley generally trends against Democrats, and turnout at most locations has been low, typical of off-year elections when the lack of presidential candidates dampens voter enthusiasm.
Most polls rated the race between Duarte and Gray a tossup, and early returns have shown those predictions were justified. Though he’s received strong backing from Bakersfield Congressman Kevin McCarthy, a leading candidate for Speaker of the House should Republicans prevail, Duarte chose not to promote Donald Trump’s “Big Lie” about a stolen election in 2020. Tom Patti also made it a point to distance himself from Trump by claiming on the campaign trail that, “I am not a Trump Republican.”
Valadao may have been smarter than most observers thought when he joined nine other House Republicans in the vote to impeach Trump for his role in the January 6 Insurrection of 2021. With his new district favoring Democrats by registration numbers, Valadao may benefit from the impeachment vote. He is one of only two remaining Republican House members who voted to impeach. The eight others bit the dust.
Harder’s formidable ground game was likely the key to his 2018 upset of Republican incumbent Jeff Denham, and the Congressman from Turlock said on Election Day that his current campaign didn’t differ dramatically from the that one:
This race is actually pretty similar to 2018 in that we’re still talking about the same issues that were top priority to families in 2018: access to health care folks can afford, good paying jobs close to home, enough water for our farmers and our ag industry. Just like the 2018 race, we’ve knocked on tens of thousands of doors in every corner of our community, ensuring everyone makes their voice heard.
By far the closest of the three races, Gray’s may take weeks to decide. At this stage of the vote count, Duarte appears to have neutralized Gray’s advantages from having served several terms in the 21st California State Assembly District, where the voter demographic is similar to Congressional District 13.
With Democrats still having a slim chance to maintain power in the House of Representatives, the race between Duarte and Gray offers a strong object lesson in the value of the vote. Valley citizens could be the key to political power nationwide, reason enough to encourage better turnout in the future.
Damon Woods says
Well, yes, the Dems seems to be doing better. I guess high inflation, high taxes, high unemployment, pending nuclear war , recession, high interest rates…potential future shutdowns, government control, and, oh yes, the fallacy that the Green New Deal is about saving the planet (vs. filling the pockets of those in power). is the preferred practice of this extreme left. As the song goes, by, by Ms. American Pie…..onward to socialism, and government control. For those that believe socialism is the best option, try watching a really old movie ” Animal Farm’ by George Orwell. Similar to 1984. When the government takes control, this venue : The Valley Citizen will not be allowed. Thankfully, I will be long gone.
Eric Caine says
Just a little correction here Mr. Woods. Eric Blair, aka “George Orwell,” was a democratic socialist (like Bernie Sanders). “Animal Farm” is an allegory about totalitarianism of the kind Donald Trump wishes to impose on the United States of America. He would use a Christian Nationalistic model along the lines of Putin’s Russia. The (mis)appropriation of Orwell by the totalitarian right is one more sign of America’s intellectual decline, hastened by talk radio, Fox News, and, of late, social media.
Keith A Ensminger says
The socialism rant goes along with calling Social Security and Medicare entitlements instead of investments any business person or employee knows comes with company provided health care and retirement. The difference is the American people own Social Security and Medicare. FDR joked his opponents of social security want to “throw old people on the trash heap like wrinkled rinds”. They haven’t changed.
The big takeaway from this election cycle seems to be that Americans said No Thanks to Trump and his nutjobs. No doubt he thought there would be a landslide of his weird minions swept into office and he would announce his run soon after and be carried into the presidency on the shoulders of his people like he had scored the game winning touchdown. Again — all roads with him lead to his ego. I bet he was already scheduling hair and makeup.
Instead people chose “normal” republicans and reasonable alternatives to democrats, and I am sweetly okay with that. The writing was on the wall when the tilted court overturned R-v-W, and told women that even though they make 20% less money than men in almost every occupation, we still wanted to control their genitals as well. I think this would have been a different election if conservatives hadn’t decided to go medieval on women’s bodies.
I’m happy. Americans aren’t as dumb as I thought. The Russians didn’t win. Trump is flushed. May the force be with us.
Thanks for the good work Eric.
Eric Caine says
Thank you JT. Always pleased to hear from you.
Keith A Ensminger says
I hope Dems prevail. McCarthy’s threat over the debt ceiling is straight out of Trump’s playbook to stiff his suppliers of their final payment or like McCarthy telling his credit card company he won’t pay for goods and services he already ordered. However, the tragic comedy Jim Jordan will orchestrate as chairman of the Judiciary Committee might be worth the trouble.