During the weekend, Businessman/Farmer John Duarte was finally declared the winner in California’s 13th House District election over Assemblyman Adam Gray (D-Merced), signaling boosted confidence for both the national GOP and state GOP heading into 2023.
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 was one of the closest House races in the country. Coming into Election Day last 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.
Last week, new vote totals finally had Duarte go up in the race, bucking most trends with mail-in ballots generally favoring Duarte over Gray, 66,808, or 50.2%, to 66,215, or 49.8%, with 99% of the vote in. However, final precincts reported in on Friday, with the lead finally insurmountable: Duarte now up 67,041 to 66,476. Despite the seemingly negligible gain, it was enough to push Duarte over the edge, and Gray to concede the race.
“After weeks of incredibly hard work by our election workers, the result has become clear,” said Gray in a statement over the weekend. “While I had hoped for a different outcome, I accept the results and have called to congratulate my opponent, John Duarte. There is no better place to grow up than in the Valley. It has been the greatest honor of my life to represent our community in the State Legislature. Whether elected or not, I will never stop fighting for the Valley.”
There is no better place to grow up than in the Valley. It has been the greatest honor of my life to represent our community in the State Legislature. Whether elected or not, I will never stop fighting for the Valley. pic.twitter.com/xVQagl7MXx
— Adam C. Gray (@AdamGrayCA) December 3, 2022
On Monday, Duarte formally acknowledged the victory as well, thanking supporters and District voters via a tweet.
“On behalf of myself, my family, and all of Team Duarte, I want to thank everyone who powered this campaign,” tweeted Duarte on Monday. “I am honored and ready to serve our Valley. You all sent me to Congress and I will honor your choice every single day in office.”
On behalf of myself, my family, and all of Team Duarte, I want to thank everyone who powered this campaign. I am honored and ready to serve our Valley. You all sent me to Congress and I will honor your choice every single day in office. pic.twitter.com/TNv9kLU8o3
— John Duarte (@Duarte4Congress) December 5, 2022
Duarte’s win marks a small, but noticeable, gain for the Republicans in California – 12 House seats are now held by GOP Representatives, 1 more than last year. Democrats now are down by two, losing one overall to the GOP and one through California losing a seat through reapportionment.
The win also gives the Republicans a 222-213 majority in the House, with several over California GOP wins being key in cementing the win through several close races. In the 13th district specifically, water issues, as well as other big Californian issues such as homelessness, housing affordability, and abortion, helped decide the race despite being slightly blue in terms of registered voters and the district going for Biden in the 2020 presidential election by 11 points.
“Duarte may have barely won,” added San Joaquin Valley pollster Juan Gomez to the Globe on Monday. “Other candidates, like Mike Garcia, also may have barely won. But they won nonetheless. Despite all the redistricting and the failure of the red wave coming, and California being a solid blue state. Despite all that the GOP held on for gains in California.”
“A lot of pundits out there are not yet saying that this is indeed the beginning of a GOP rise in California. They want to give it until 2024 or 2026 to really say for sure. But California has a growing voter segment who doesn’t want to be affiliated in voting, making Democratic registered voter totals artificially high, and follows for of an old-school Republican way of thinking. They may vote for the Democrats on some things, but when California is in crisis, they’ll pick the ones who want to try something new that the other party has been given several chances at and failed.”
“Voters, especially those here in the San Joaquin Valley, have seen water concerns dismissed by Democrats in charge, with housing growing worse and everything getting more expensive. That’s enough to try someone new or at least someone who bucked the more national trend. Here, it was Duarte. A lot of farmers with water problems trusted the farmer over the Assemblyman, as did many people who felt that a change was needed with many things working against them.”
As of Monday, it is not known if Gray will follow through on enacting a recount, something which he had previously been reported on for trying to get funding for.
- Bill To Repeal California Cruising Ban Introduced In Assembly - February 7, 2023
- CA Bill To Allow Binational Students In Mexico Receive In-State Tuition Progresses - February 6, 2023
- Controversial SD County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher Announces Run For State Senate In 2024 - February 6, 2023