Former Fresno City Councilman Chris Mathys launched his campaign for Congressional District 22, taking another stab at trying to oust Rep. David Valadao (R–Hanford).
Mathys, a Republican challenger, jumps into a race that already includes infighting from Democrats.
The backstory: Mathys, a cattle rancher, served on the Fresno City Council from 1997-2001, has occasionally dipped his toe into the political arena, losing bids for California State Assembly in 2004 and a New Mexico Congressional seat in 2020, then turning to challenge Valadao last year following Valadao’s vote to impeach former President Donald Trump.
- Positioning himself right of Valadao, Mathys tried to list his ballot designation as “Trump Conservative,” but was denied.
- Valadao placed second in the primary, beating out Mathys by 2.2 points before going on to win reelection in November.
- Valadao’s primary placement was largely the result of outsized support for Mathys from an unlikely source – former Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Pelosi’s Super PAC, House Majority PAC, spent $110,919 in the Bakersfield TV market appealing to Republicans by painting Mathys as a more conservative supporter of Trump.
The big picture: Mathys launched his campaign to try again against Valadao on Tuesday, arguing in his announcement that Valadao has betrayed Republican.
- Along with Valadao, Mathys will have to contend with former Democratic Assemblymember Rudy Salas and current State Sen. Melissa Hurtado (D–Bakersfield) in the primary.
- Valadao holds a large cash advantage over his challenger, boasting $1.2 million in his war chest. Salas has nearly $160,000 on hand, while Hurtado has over $30,000 in the bank. Mathys reported having $500 on hand.
What they’re saying: “I’m running against David Valadao who voted to impeach President Trump. I would not have voted to impeach a Republican president,” Mathys said in an announcement video. “Our country has changed in the last three years. We can’t afford groceries. Gas is expensive. We’re sending billions of dollars overseas to the Ukraine, but we’re not taking care of Americans. It’s time to put America first.”