Failure to launch: Top Valadao challenger faces tall hill ahead of primary

Washington Democrats have long-hyped a match-up between Rudy Salas and David Valadao. The numbers have been less-than-encouraging.

Hyped since Rep. David Valadao (R–Hanford) won back his seat in November 2020 after a razor-thin defeat in 2018, a match-up against veteran Asm. Rudy Salas (D–Bakersfield) has been a long-sought dream by Washington Democratic operatives hoping to put a southern San Joaquin Valley seat firmly in Democratic hands.

For years, Salas refused to wade into the fray against the Hanford dairyman.


In 2022, with the prospect of terming-out of the legislature in 2024 on the horizon, he took the plunge for the newly-drawn 22nd Congressional district (not to be confused with the expiring district formerly held by Rep. Devin Nunes)

Now, with the campaign finance reports from the first quarter of 2022 in, we’re getting a clearer picture of the battle ahead between Salas and Valadao.

The four-term Republican lawmaker closed the first quarter with back-to-back quarterly hauls of more than $400,000, increasing the scale of his seven-figure war war chest.

Salas, on the other hand, hasn’t been able to catch fire quite as many expected. In his second-straight quarter, Salas hasn’t been able to crack the $300,000 mark for funds raised, and trails Valadao’s war chest by a sizable $1.32 million.

Here are the latest fundraising figures, assessed by newly-drawn districts, released on Friday:

California’s 5th Congressional District

California’s 9th Congressional District

California’s 13th Congressional District

California’s 20th Congressional District

California’s 21st Congressional District

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