Rep. David Valadao, one of few Republicans who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump, plans to run for election in an increasingly Democratic congressional district that could be one of California’s tightest midterm races.

Valadao, R-Hanford, has represented the areas that the district encompasses for the better part of the last decade. He plans to run in California’s new 22nd Congressional District, which captures his hometown of Hanford and cradles the southern end of the San Joaquin Valley.

“I’ll continue to be an independent member of Congress who will stand up to the divisive partisanship in Washington D.C., get things done to grow our local economy, and deliver more water for our farmers and communities,” Valadao said Thursday in his campaign announcement. “I’m excited to earn the vote of old friends as well as new voters across Kern, Kings, and Tulare Counties.”

The district he is running in would have voted for President Joe Biden with a 13% margin of victory, suggesting it might support a Democrat in 2022.

But Valadao’s current district voted for Biden by an 11% margin. And the San Joaquin Valley representative has overcome tight elections before.

Valadao, a Central Valley dairyman, won elections to the United States House of Representatives in 2012, 2014 and 2016 easily.

In 2018, he lost his seat to Democratic challenger TJ Cox by less than a 1% margin. In a 2020 rematch, Valadao bested Cox by less than 1 percentage point in a race that was too close to call for weeks.

In 2022, Valadao again faces serious Democratic challengers, including Assemblyman Rudy Salas, D-Bakersfield, and Delano Mayor Bryan Osorio.

“To be clear: we were in a great position to win before redistricting — but now we have a much wider path to victory,” Salas’ campaign manager, Abby Olmstead, said in a news release about the district last week.

Republican businessman Chris Mathys, who has aligned himself with Trump, is also running there.

Valadao distanced himself from Trump, being one of 10 House Republicans who voted for impeachment over the former president’s role in the insurrection on the Capitol on Jan. 6.

Later Valadao voted for, then against, the formation of a Jan. 6 committee. The first iteration would have been split between Democrats and Republicans while the second, which passed, was composed of House members mainly picked by Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat.

Valadao said the format of the committee would “only divide us further.”

He has kept pretty quiet on matters related to Jan. 6 since, with a spokesperson from his office telling The Fresno Bee that he would not make any statements about the anniversary of the event last week.

Over the last year, the congressman introduced two pieces of legislation that aim to increase water access to families and farming communities in the Central Valley. Much of his bipartisan legislative efforts in previous years have also focused on tackling lacking water infrastructure throughout California’s center, including through the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act in 2016, which aimed to bolster water access through various operations like the Central Valley Project.

He sits on the House subcommittees that appropriate funding to agencies that cover agriculture, rural development, food and drugs, military construction and veteran affairs.

“It seems like every two years for the past decade people have been calling me about whatever seat David Valadao is going to run in, trying to get me to say, ‘he is surely gonna lose this time.’ He keeps making it. He’s an amazing candidate,” Matt Rexroad, a Republican consultant and redistricting expert, told The Bee last month.

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(this story/news/article has not been edited by PostX News staff and is published from a syndicated feed)

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