Politics

Dem poll hopes to raise Salas’ fortunes against Valadao

A new internal poll from Washington Democrats hoping to shake-up one of the biggest House races on the Valley floor.

-funded poll has Assm. Rudy Salas (D–Bakersfield) on top in his attempt to oust Hanford Republican David Valadao from Congress.

The 22nd Congressional District figures to be one of the most competitive seats in the nation.

With the California Redistricting Commission drawing the new lines, the 22nd District is home to a Democrat edge in voter registration of more than 15 percent.

Voters in the district also voted for President Joe Biden by a 13 percent margin over President Trump in 2020, signaling the mountain that Valadao has to climb in order to retain his seat.

However, Republicans performed well in the district in the June primary.

While Salas placed first with 45.4 percent of the vote and Valadao second at 25.6 percent, Republican candidates combined for 54.6 percent.

The latest Democrat-backed poll, released to Politico on Tuesday, has Salas drawing in 43 percent support compared to 35 percent for Valadao.

David Binder Research conducted the poll by interviewing 600 likely voters in the district in mid July and said the margin of error for the survey is about 4 percent.

The poll also registered 22 percent of participants as undecided or planning on not voting in November.

“The data shows that this is a district that Democrats can win,” a memo that came with the poll reads. “After redistricting, the new district is the second most Democratic seat held by a Republican in the country… It is also the most Hispanic seat in California, and Assemblymember Salas would be the first Latino Congressman from the Central Valley.”

Republicans, on the other hand, view Biden’s poor ratings nationally as a sign that Valadao will remain in office.

“David Valadao will win reelection,” said NRCC spokesperson Torunn Sinclair in a statement. “Rudy Salas voted to raise Californians’ gas prices and will stand with Joe Biden’s liberal agenda that caused the price of everything to skyrocket.”

Even though the poll is backed by the Democratic party, Salas’ lead might not be all smoke and mirrors.

The latest fundraising numbers are trending up for Salas as he outraised Valadao by over $70,000 in the last quarter.

Salas reported $395,454.52 in the last quarter, while Valadao came in at $323,431.12. 

But Valadao’s head start being an incumbent might prove to be too much to overcome, as he has over $2.5 million in the warchest while Salas has yet to clear $1 million.

Daniel Gligich is a reporter for The San Joaquin Valley Sun, focusing on Fresno State Athletics and the southern San Joaquin Valley. Email him at daniel.gligich@sjvsun.com.