Home>Articles>Two On-The-Fence Congressional Elections In California May Hold Key to GOP Flipping House

Selective focus voting yes on California Gubernatorial Recall Election Ballot Los Angeles, CA, Sept. 10, 2021. (Photo: Elliott Cowand Jr/Shutterstock)

Two On-The-Fence Congressional Elections In California May Hold Key to GOP Flipping House

‘These two races are critical for both parties, so you can bet we won’t have any idea on them until the 8th’

By Evan Symon, October 10, 2022 2:30 am

With only a month to go before the mid-term elections, polls have found that two California congressional districts, the new 22nd and and 27th districts, are currently toss-ups and may play a big part in if the GOP takes control of the House this year.

Rep. David Valadao (CA-21). (Photo: valadao.house.gov)

In the 22nd Congressional District, a Central Valley/Bakerfield focused district comprised of much of the soon-to-be-former 21st district, incumbent Congressman David Valadao (R-CA) is facing Assemblyman Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield). During the last several House elections, the 21st Congressional District has seen tumultuous change. The district went from slight red leaning to slightly blue leaning throughout the 2010s, with the current district showing a 5 point Democratic advantage when it comes to voters. Despite this, Valadao managed to hold onto office until the 2018 ballot harvesting blue wave mid-terms, when Democrat TJ Cox won by roughly 900 votes, 50.4% to 49.6%. However, two years later, a Twitter scandal and the revelation that Cox had unpaid taxes swung the election back to Valadao – this time with almost 2,000 votes a difference.

Assemblyman Rudy Salas. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

But with Cox now under indictment for fraud and the new 22nd district becoming a little bluer, Valadao is facing a major challenger in Salas. However, Salas has faltered recently, turning what was an 8-point lead into a toss-up thanks to Cox, as well as the Republicans ad-based strategy working. As of Friday, Salas is only barely clinging to a lead, 50.3% to 49.7%, with the race likely coming down to voter turnout. While Salas is popular there, Valadao has shown the ability to come back from deficits and even being out of the office and losing the edge of incumbency time and time again.

“Both the Republicans and Democrats want this seat badly,” explained Alex Guzman, a Californian pollster, to the Globe. “A ton of money is going into the 22nd District race, and it is going to come down to the wire. Democrats thought that redistricting would give them an edge, but the GOP is proving that  they are not going to make it easy for them. The Republicans have found a way to win in the district despite having more registered Democrats there before.”

Third round for Mike Garcia, Christy Smith

Congressman Mike Garcia (R-CA) (Photo: Mike Garcia official Twitter)

Further South, in Ventura County and Northern LA County, another GOP held seat is on the fence. Congressman Mike Garcia (R-CA) is once again facing Assemblywoman Christy Smith (D-Santa Clarita) in the new  27th district/former 25th District. The district has been bitterly fought over by the Democrats and the GOP since 2018. In the 2018 election, Democrat Katie Hill defeated Republican Congressman Steve Knight, flipping the seat to the Democrats as part of the blue wave in Southern California that year. However, Hill quickly embroiled herself in many controversial acts, including inappropriate relationships with staffers, resulting in a huge scandal. A House ethics investigation was launched against her, and Hill resigned in October 2019.

Garcia came in during the special election in 2020, defeated Smith, then faced her again in the general election that November, beating her again by a narrow margin. However, for round three, Smith is now in a slightly more voter friendly district and has been championed as the one to take the last GOP-held district in LA County away to the Democrats. Except for a few hiccups, such as Garcia comparing the Biden administration to the Third Reich, the 2022 election favors Garcia slightly more again.

Assemblywoman Christy Smith (Photo: Kevin Sanders for California Globe)
State Rep. Christy Smith. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

While both candidates were tied in early September in polls, Garcia has broken away during the last month. As of Friday, he has 50.3% support compared to Smith’s 49.7%. But, unlike the Valadao-Salas race where Salas has continued to trend down, Smith has managed to stay above water and is poised to once again defeat Smith and keep the GOP having a district within Los Angeles County.

“If Smith loses next month, the Democrats have to tell her to stop running. She’s quickly becoming the Adlai Stevenson or Hillary Clinton of SoCal. She has a lot of support, is adored by key Democrats, but keeps losing,” added Guzman. “And people see her as elitist. Garcia can make a few gaffes and still come back out on top with the humbler background. The next month is critical for both, and as long as Garcia continues to play it fair, he’ll get another narrow victory. For Smith, she needs to stop talking down to people. I’ve asked a lot of people in that district, and many said that they would vote for her if she didn’t come across as ‘being better than them’. Garcia didn’t forget the little guy, and it’s that mindset that keeps costing Smith these elections.”

“These two races are critical for both parties, so you can bet we won’t have any idea on them until the 8th.”

Election day is on November 8, 2022.

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3 thoughts on “Two On-The-Fence Congressional Elections In California May Hold Key to GOP Flipping House

  1. The only thing Christy Smith has going for her is great hair, which is kept fertilized by the manure she has for brains…
    Give it up already, girl – you’re wasting your time and your teacher union benefactors’ money….

    Mike Garcia is the right person for the job in that district…

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