Who is showing up at the 2022 Congress in the Central Valley?
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) – With California congressional boundaries now solidified, attention turns to the 2022 midterm races. There are significant changes in the Central Valley districts that could change who gets sent. in Washington in November.
One of the main drivers of these changes is the Voting Rights Act, a federal law which means that there must be a number of districts which have more than 50% of the minority population. Of the three districts encompassing and surrounding Kern, two have a Latino majority and one is predominantly white.
Let’s dive into the changes and the candidates in each riding.
The new 20th arrondissement
The new 20th district shares the most land with what is now the district of parliamentary minority leader Kevin McCarthy (R). It includes much of Bakersfield but now extends to the Fresno suburb of Clovis.
An important feature of the district is an arm stretching above Hanford. This cements the Latino majorities in the two neighborhoods bordering the 20th. He does this by placing voters in the arm zone, who are predominantly white, in the already predominantly white 20th arrondissement.
Republican political analyst Cathy Abernathy told us voters in this branch are more Republicans. This, in effect, makes the 20th arrondissement even redder while removing Republicans from the 22nd and 21st arrondissements and therefore makes them bluer.
As for the candidates running so far, Kevin McCarthy will most likely run in this district. With McCarthy’s high profile and the district’s strengthened Republican majority, it will be extremely difficult for a Democrat to compete for that seat.
However, three Democrats have declared themselves for the race so far:
Louis Gill (D): He has spent the past two decades working with nonprofits to tackle homelessness here in Bakersfield.
Bruno Amato (D): He’s a Navy veteran and actor.
Marisa Bois (D): She has been at Kern for 35 years now and teaches at Fairfax Junior High School.
The new 22nd arrondissement
The new 22nd district shares the most land with what is currently David Valadao (R) district. This race has been very competitive in recent years. Valadao lost the seat to Democrat TJ Cox in 2018 before regaining it in 2020 and it was one of nine districts across the country to vote for Joe Biden for president while sending a Republican to Congress in 2020.
Now, in part because of the strip of land above Hanford added to the 20th arrondissement, it will be even more difficult for a Republican to win the 22nd. Residents of this new 22nd arrondissement are expected to vote for Biden in 2020 by a 13% margin. However, it should be noted that the current district of Valadao voted for Biden by an 11% margin and still elected Republican Valadao to congress.
Valadao has yet to confirm whether he will show up in that district in 2022, however, it is the area that most closely resembles his current district.
Here are the candidates who have declared their intention to run for the 22nd constituency:
Chris Mathys (right): He is a United States Army veteran and former Fresno city councilor.
Rudy Salas (D): He is a former Bakersfield city councilor and currently represents the 32nd District of Central Valley in the State Assembly.
Nicole Parra (D): She represented the Central Valley, including Kern, at the State Assembly from 2002 to 2008.
Bryan Osorio (D): He is the current mayor of Delano and a former municipal councilor of Delano.
The new 21st arrondissement
The new 21st arrondissement centered on Fresno shares the most land area with the current Devin Nunes arrondissement. The redistribution changed this limit from deep red to tilted blue. Nunes announced he was retiring a few weeks ago, opening up the region to a new set of potential candidates.
Here are the candidates who have declared their intention to run for the 21st constituency:
Jim Costa (D): He is a former Congressman from Bakersfield and has been in Central Valley politics for over 40 years. He is currently representing District 16 at convention.
Elizabeth Heng (right): She worked for former Congressman Ed Royce and was the personnel director for Donald Trump’s inauguration ceremony.
Phil Arballo (D): He said weeks ago but his team told us that after the final cards were approved, he was now weighing his options. However, he recently indicated on Twitter that he was still in the running.
The June 2022 primaries are only six months away and candidates are preparing for the election campaign. Further announcements of candidacies, withdrawals and changes are expected in the coming weeks.