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David Valadao, California Republican who voted to impeach Trump, wins US House seat


SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Republican U.S. Rep. David Valadao defeated Democrat Rudy Salas in a Central Valley district, overcoming a strong Democratic registration lead and the fallout from his vote to impeach then-President Donald Trump.

With 98% of the ballots counted Monday night, Valadao won about 52% of the vote to Salas’ 48%, a margin of about 3,400 votes.

Valadao was one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump after the January 6 Capitol uprising. He is one of only two of those 10 up for re-election, along with Republican Dan Newhouse of Washington. Others resigned or were defeated by primary challengers backed by Trump.

Democrats hold a staggering 17-point registration lead in the state’s 22nd District, an agricultural district. But Valadao, never a Trump supporter, previously highlighted a bipartisan winning streak in left-leaning districts. He held the seat from 2013 to January 2019, losing it for one term, then regaining it in a rematch with Democrat T.J. Cox in 2020.

Salas, a member of the state assembly who is considered a moderate, has battled with Valadao on gas taxes, the opioid overdose crisis and health care.

Earlier, Republicans regained control of the House of Representatives. With Valadao’s victory, Republicans will have 219 seats next year, Democrats 212. Counting is not yet over in several other races that are still undecided.

Trump has never been significantly involved in the race, and Valadao, a dairy farmer and the son of Portuguese immigrants, had the endorsement of the state GOP and the support of House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, who is close to the former president.

Valadao did not endorse then-candidate Trump in 2016, but then supported his re-election four years later.

However, Valadao has at times broken with the Trump White House, including criticizing the administration for separating families at the border. He ran in 2020 as an “independent problem solver” and in one ad highlighted his work with former President Barack Obama on water issues critical to the region.

He cited Trump as the driving force behind the Jan. 6 Capitol uprising. “Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric was un-American, disgusting and absolutely criminal,” Valadao said.

Copyright © 2022 The Washington Times, LLC.

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