Duarte captures open north Valley House seat, Gray concedes defeat in multi-million dollar battle

A Modesto Republican will represent a Latino majority, Democratic heavy seat drawn during redistricting in 2021.

Without any ballots left to count, Modesto nursery owner John Duarte will take office in the new 13th Congressional District. 

Late arriving ballots in the few weeks since the election have kept the contest between Duarte, a Republican and Asm. Adam Gray (D–Merced) a close one, but Duarte’s path to victory finally won out Friday. 


Fresno County, the last remaining county in the district to count all of its ballots, posted 4,860 votes Friday evening. 

Those votes were cast in Gray’s favor at a 52.85 percent to 47.15 percent clip, not a large enough margin to shift the scales for the Democrat. 

Ahead of Friday’s count, Duarte held a 584 vote lead. His lead was slightly trimmed to 565 votes. 

With its update, Fresno County reported Friday that it does not have any uncounted ballots remaining, except for a number of signature cure ballots. 

Friday’s count left Duarte with 67,041 votes compared to 66,476 votes cast for Gray. 

With all the votes in, Gray officially conceded the race Friday. 

“After weeks of incredibly hard work by our election workers, the result has become clear. While I had hoped for a different outcome, I accept the results and have called to congratulate my opponent, John Duarte,” Gray said in a statement. 

“This was one of the closest races in the country. More than 130,000 ballots were cast, and the outcome will be decided by just a few hundred votes. This isn’t a Democrat or Republican district. To effectively represent us, our elected officials must embrace bipartisanship and independence. It takes courage to buck your own party leaders when they are wrong. That is what I have done during my time in the State Legislature, and I hope John is ready and willing to do the same for us in Congress.” 

With over $15 million spent total, according to Open Secrets, the race for CD 13 was one of the most expensive in the nation.

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