It appears that the 2018 midterm election is, in fact, not yet over and it might just finish with Rep. David Valadao losing his race or coming within a hair’s breadth of doing so in the end.
Rep. David Valadao or Valada’oh?
Valadao is currently only 1,000 votes ahead of Democrat TJ Cox. That actually puts him in a slightly better position than before the last batch of ballots came in from Tulare County, which voted more heavily for Valadao than Cox. However, the 1,000 vote margin is insanely slim for a district that should by right have stayed red easily, even in a “Blue Wave” year.
In the last session of Congress, Valadao shied away from staking out equally strong pro-immigration stances as Rep. Jeff Denham at a time when voters in his district who would normally reliably vote Republican were starting to bail on the party. Many of those voters were also adversely impacting by President Trump’s trade war, which hammered the agricultural sector in the Central Valley. Valadao also voted for the tax reform bill that made changes to the state and local income tax deduction rules and adversely impacted many Californians.
To his credit, Valadao did speak out against the separation of children from parents at the border unlike his “neighbor,” Rep. Devin Nunes. Nunes comes from a much more reliably Republican district yet performed only 3% better on Election Day than Valadao. Nonetheless, Valadao’s race might end up looking like a squeaker when it should not have, another reminder of how badly Trumpism– tax reform that raised taxes on Californians, harsh immigration restrictionism, and trade wars– has played in California.