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Congressional candidate John Duarte (Photo: John Duarte for Congress)

Duarte Continues To Lead Gray In Tight 13th District House Race

Final votes expected to be tallied this week, recount expected

By Evan Symon, November 28, 2022 5:11 pm

The 13th District House race between Assemblyman Adam Gray (D-Merced) and Businessman/Farmer John Duarte continued to be called as undecided on Monday, with the last 1% of the vote expected to trickle in soon and finally call the election where there is currently a less than 600 vote difference.

Assemblyman Adam Gray. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

Since the primary in June, in which Duarte narrowly secured a 34% victory over Gray’s 31% in a race where multiple Republicans and Democrats had over 10% of the vote, the 13th has been one of the closest House races in the country. Coming into Election Day earlier this month, prediction outlets said that the district could fall anywhere between leaning Republican and leaning Democrat, being one of the few districts in the country to have such a wide array of predictions. At the end of the night, Gray was slightly up in voting, but as results came in during the following weeks, Duarte moved up and took a narrow lead, being a reversal of the trend seen around California where mail-in ballots generally favored Democrats.

New vote totals last Monday, the 21st, showed Duarte slightly leading with 63,539 votes, or 50.3%, to Gray with 62,674 votes, or 49.7%, with 95% of the total votes in. Upon hearing of the new figures, both candidates responded differently. Duarte released a statement saying that he was optimistic, noting  “We’re feeling good. We like the direction is going. Every day we know so much more. Right now, we like what we see. We feel good about our position. And we’ll continue to follow it and hope hope it stays on track.”

Gray, meanwhile, formed an FEC committee to raise money for a recount.

New vote totals coming in Thanksgiving week brought the total counted votes to 99%, but still failed to produce a projected winner. As of Monday, Duarte still leads Gray 66,808, or 50.2%, to 66,215, or 49.8%. Gray is still within striking distance and currently holds the advantage of recent counted votes going more and more his way. Duarte, however, has a much better overall chance to win due to his lead and getting enough of the uncounted vote percentage to keep Gray from overtaking him.

Duarte, Gray coming in at the wire

Should Duarte win, it would give the GOP an extra vote cushion in the House as well as give the first net gain of Republican House seats in California in years, going up from 11 to 12, with the Democrats losing 2 due to the lost 13th District and redistricting pushing another blue seat in California out. Should Gray win, it would help solidify Democratic support in the San Joaquin Valley, as well as keep GOP gains at bay.

“Democrats do not want to appear to be losing California,” explained San Joaquin Valley pollster Juan Gomez to the Globe on Monday. “Newsom was reelected and they still hold huge majorities in the state Assembly and Senate. Both Senators to Washington are also Democrat. But losing ground in the House is a bit of an embarrassment, and that is what they are facing here. Duarte really went after Latino voters and dissatisfied white voters after [Rep. Jim] Costa’s tenure here.”

“But look at that razor thin margin. That’s roughly 600 votes. Either way it goes, there will be a recount. If Duarte stays above, a lot of people will say he was barely elected in. But, that is also the beauty of it. You can be barely elected in, but the point is you were still elected in. Percentage points don’t matter on inauguration day.”

“Both of these candidates want that seat badly. We’re all on pins and needles until then.”

Final votes are due to be counted this week, with a winner expected to be announced soon. CA-13 is one of two currently undecided House elections, with the other, Colorado’s 3rd District, also currently siding with a Republican, with GOP candidate Lauren Boebert leading Democrat Adam Frisch by just over 500 votes with 99% of the votes in.

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