Hurtado files paperwork to challenge Valadao

Hurtado’s entrance into the race gives Democrats an interesting decision to make as she also has to compete against Rudy Salas.

It’s official, two Democrats have now entered the race to try to topple Rep. David Valadao (R–Hanford) in the 22nd Congressional District. 

State Sen. Melissa Hurtado (D–Bakersfield) filed paperwork to enter the race on Thursday. 


Driving the news: Hurtado, a Sanger native, has served in the California Senate since she ousted Republican Andy Vidak in the 2018 election. 

  • However, Hurtado barely kept her seat in Sacramento last year, fending off a challenge from Porterville Republican David Shepard by just 13 votes. 

The big picture: Hurtado is the second Democrat to enter the race against Valadao, making it so there is no guarantee that Valadao will face a rematch of his contest last year. 

  • Last week former Bakersfield Democrat Assemblymember Rudy Salas announced his campaign for the 22nd district. 
  • Salas lost to Valadao by a 51.5-48.5 margin despite the fact that Democrats hold a 17-point voter registration advantage in the district. 
  • Similar to Salas, Hurtado vastly underperformed the Democrat edge in her race for the 16th Senate District. Democrats hold a 12-point advantage in her district, yet she barely won reelection against Shepard. 

What they’re saying: While Hurtado did not make a public announcement after she filed, the National Republican Congressional Committee was quick to go on the offensive against the Democrat. 

  • “The costly, chaotic race to the left is on between two self-serving politicians who have harmed the Central Valley, Melissa Hurtado and Rudy Salas,” NRCC Spokesperson Ben Petersen said. “A darling of extreme Sacramento special interests, Melissa Hurtado backed hiking the gas tax, tried to block water storage for the Valley and worked against public safety. Hurtado barely held on in the last election by just 13 votes and her quest for a larger taxpayer salary will fail.”
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