Hoping to avoid chaos against Valadao in 2024, Nancy Pelosi picks a side in Valley House seat

Pelosi’s endorsement in a two-person battle for the right to take on Rep. David Valadao next November is a strong signal of the Democratic establishment’s thinking.

Former Asm. Rudy Salas has earned a major endorsement in his rematch bid against Rep. David Valadao (R–Hanford) for Congress. 

Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D–San Francisco) announced that she is endorsing Salas, a major early win for the former Bakersfield Democrat over other Democratic candidates. 


The big picture: Salas, who lost to Valadaao by three points last year, is trying once again to oust Valadao in the 22nd Congressional District, which holds a 17-point voter registration advantage for Democrats. 

  • His path to a direct rematch with Valadao faces a significant roadblock this time around, however. State Sen. Melissa Hurtado (D–Bakersfield) – formerly of Sanger – filed papers a few weeks ago to run for the seat. 
  • Given Salas’s failure to defeat Valadao last year, Hurtado offers a different choice for Democrats to rally behind as they try to retake the House of Representatives. 
  • But Pelosi, who still wields significant influence despite no longer holding a leadership post with the House Democrats, sees Salas – not Hurtado – as the Democratic Party’s best change in the 22nd District. 

What they’re saying: In a statement announcing her endorsement, Pelosi called Salas a proven champion who is the right candidate for the district. 

  • “Rudy Salas is a proven champion for women, workers, and delivering for Valley Families, and I’m proud to endorse him,” Pelosi said. “California’s 22nd District is a must-win for Democrats and Rudy is exactly the right candidate to get the job done.”
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