U.S. Congressional District 22 race still anyone's game

Tiffany Olin Image
Thursday, March 7, 2024
U.S. Congressional District 22 race still anyone's game
Congressional District 22 has been a race to watch this election cycle.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Congressional District 22 has been a race to watch this election cycle.

"Right now, the Republican majority in the House of Representatives is very thin and would only require a few democratic pickups across the nation in order for Democrats to take control of the house, and one of the seats that could very well make the difference is Congressional District 22," Fresno State Political Science Professor, Dr. Thomas Holyoke explained.

The district includes portions of Kern, Tulare and Kings counties. It is seen as a swing district - as it has a republican incumbent despite Democrats making up 42 percent of voters - while just 26 percent are Republicans.

Four candidates are hoping to get their shot at the seat in the general election-incumbent Republican David Valadao, Democrats Rudy Salas and Melissa Hurtado along with republican Chris Mathys.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Representative Valadao led the polls.

LIVE RESULTS: Valadao facing competitive race for California's 22nd Congressional District seat

In a statement, Representative Valadao said, "We always knew this race was going to be close and I'm optimistic about last night's initial results, but we still have a ways to go."

According to Holyoke, Valadao should move on to the November ballot, but that second spot remains up for grabs.

"Last I saw, Rudy Salas-- the former assemblyman-- may have a bit of a lead but Chris Mathys is running a strong race and once the votes are counted, it could very well be him, which would mean two republicans going forward," Holyoke said.

We reached out to Mathys for comment and have not heard back.

Salas's campaign said in a statement, "We're very encouraged by the results thus far. We will continue to monitor the returns and believe that when all the votes are counted we will advance to November."

If both Salas and Valadao secure enough votes, the general election could be a rematch of 2022 when Valadao won the seat by 3%.

I spoke with Salas at his watch party Tuesday night about that narrow defeat.

"We know the last election was, if we had 1500 votes, we'd have a whole different result," Salas said. "We know that it was about a 36% turnout and we know in presidential years, that turnout is definitely a lot higher, almost double that."

Both parties are still hoping to take the seat in November and leverage control of the house.

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