On Election Eve, handicapper shifts Valley’s two titanic House battles toward Valadao, Duarte

A popular nonpartisan election handicapper expects two of California’s most tightly-contested Congressional races to swing in favor of Republicans. 

Sabato’s Crystal Ball, published by the University of Virginia Center for Politics, predicted Monday that Republicans will hold a 237-198 in the House of Representatives after the election. 

Rep. David Valadao (R–Hanford) and Modesto nursery owner John Duarte are two California Republicans picking up ground in Sabato’s Crystal Ball. 

Valadao’s race against Asm. Rudy Salas (D–Bakersfield) for the 22nd Congressional District was previously listed as a toss-up. 

Duarte’s race against Asm. Adam Gray (D–Merced) for Congressional District 13 was also listed as a toss-up. 

Both of those changed Monday as Sabato’s Crystal Ball shifted the races to both lean Republican just one day before the election. 

Salas owns a considerable advantage in favorable voter registration in District 22, with Democrats holding a 43-26 percent lead in the district. 

But – outside of 2018’s loss to form Rep. TJ Cox (D–Fresno) Valadao has repeatedly won in an unfavorable district. 

Duarte also faces a sizeable uphill battle in District 13’s Demographics, with Democrats holding a 42-28 percent edge. 

Daniel Gligich is a reporter for The San Joaquin Valley Sun, focusing on Fresno State Athletics and the southern San Joaquin Valley. Email him at daniel.gligich@sjvsun.com.