Hurtado concedes defeat, endorses Salas against Valadao

The State Senator could not edge out Rudy Salas for a spot in the November election.

State Sen. Melissa Hurtado (D–Bakersfield) announced Thursday that she is conceding defeat in the race for Congressional District 22 after staring down a fourth-place finish. 

She has endorsed former Asm. Rudy Salas (D–Bakersfield) in the race. 


The big picture: While the full results from Tuesday’s primary will still take weeks to reach as ballots come in, Hurtado does not have a path forward to reaching the general election in November. 

  • As of the latest count, Hurtado is in last place at 15.3 percent. 
  • Rep. David Valadao (R–Hanford) leads at 34.1 percent and is likely headed for a rematch against Salas, who is at 28.3 percent. 
  • Republican Chris Mathys is in third at 22.3 percent. 

The backstory: Hurtado entered the race last August, challenging both Valadao and Salas for the seat. 

  • Despite Salas having a poor result against Valadao in 2022, the Democratic establishment largely threw its support behind Salas instead of Hurtado. 
  • Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D–San Francisco) endorsed Salas, who later was endorsed by the California Democratic Party and Senator Alex Padilla. 
  • Hurtado and Salas sparred in the weeks leading up to the primary over her record in abortion. 
  • Salas ran an advertisement slamming the “D” rating and “hostile to reproductive freedom” label Hurtado received from abortion rights group NARAL Pro-Choice California in 2022. The advertisement did not mention that the same organization gave her an “A-” rating in 2023. 
  • Hurtado fired back, calling the attack misleading and saying Salas should be ashamed for lying about her record. 

What they’re saying: While the two fought throughout the campaign, Hurtado endorsed Salas while calling for unity. 

  • “I’m profoundly grateful to the friends, family, supporters and volunteers who helped during my Congressional campaign. Elections serve to amplify our Valley’s issues, including the pressing water crisis affecting farmers, farmworkers, and our communities, expanding access to health care, protecting reproductive freedom and reducing inflation in our economy,” Hurtado said. 
  • “While I won’t be addressing these issues in Congress, as your state Senator I remain committed to urging our federal counterparts to address our most pressing challenges and persist in urging the Department of Justice to investigate water rights abuses.” 
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