Not since the 1940s has California had single-digit Republican representation in Congress.
Now there are eight, and that may drop to seven by the time the counting is done.
Republicans held 14 of California’s 53 seats in the House of Representatives before the midterm election. But with the final votes being tallied, Democrats have succeeded in ousting Republicans from every congressional seat in the GOP stronghold Orange County. Now, who from California is left representing the party of Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan on Capitol Hill?
There are eight Republicans remaining among California’s House delegation: Kevin McCarthy, Doug LaMalfa, Tom McClintock, Paul Cook, David Valadao, Devin Nunes, Ken Calvert and Duncan D. Hunter. Valadao is clinging to a hair-thin lead.
The last Republican to represent California in the U.S. Senate was John Seymour, a former Realtor and Anaheim mayor who was appointed by Pete Wilson to complete his term after Wilson was elected governor. Seymour lost a 1992 special election to Dianne Feinstein, who was just re-elected to her sixth term. Wilson was the last California Republican elected to the Senate.
Here is what’s left of the California GOP House delegation:
Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield
McCarthy, 53, has served as House Majority Leader since 2014 and Republicans elected him last week to be the minority leader when Democrats take control of the House next year. A native of Bakersfield, the Central Valley oil town where Merle Haggard and Buck Owens created country music’s California sound, McCarthy ran his own deli business before becoming a congressional staffer and state Assemblyman. He was first elected to Congress in 2006 representing what is now the 23rd District, which voted 58 percent for Republican President Donald Trump over Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016. He lives in Bakersfield with his wife and two children, and easily won re-election this month over Democrat Tatiana Matta with nearly 65 percent of the vote.
Doug LaMalfa, R-Richvale
LaMalfa, 58, who runs his family rice farm in a rural town south of Chico, is a former state
Assemblyman first elected to Congress in 2012 representing the 1st District, which voted 56 percent for Trump in 2016. LaMalfa recently joined President Trump’s visit to Paradise, the town east of Chico that burned up in the Camp Fire, the state’s deadliest and most destructive on record. He defeated Democrat Audrey Denny this month for a fourth term with more than 55 percent of the vote.
Tom McClintock, R-Roseville
McClintock, 62, a former taxpayer advocate and member of the state Assembly and Senate, was
first elected to Congress in 2008 representing the 4th District, which includes California’s Gold Country, Lake Tahoe and Yosemite. McClintock is among a handful of representatives who don’t actually live in their district. When he ran for the seat, he was representing a Ventura County district in the state Senate. He now lives in Elk Grove, south of Sacramento and west of District 4. The American Conservative Union ranks McClintock the most conservative among California’s House delegation. Although his district went 54 percent for Trump in 2016, Democrats thought they might have a shot at defeating him this year with their base energized to retake Congress. Nope. McClintock defeated Democrat Jessica Morse with 55 percent of the vote.
Paul Cook, R-Apple Valley
Cook, 75, a former state Assemblyman, was elected to Congress in 2012 representing the 8th
District. A Marine Corps veteran who earned a Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts serving in Vietnam, he taught at UC Riverside and ran the chamber of commerce in Yucca Valley, where he lives with his wife. His Southern California district went nearly 55 percent for Trump in 2016. The American Conservative Union ranked Cook the least conservative in 2017 among the state’s Republicans in the House, but he easily defeated fellow Republican Tim Donnelly this month with more than 60 percent of the vote for a fourth term.
David Valadao, R-Hanford
Valadao, 41, may have secured a fourth term representing the 21st District north of
Bakersfield, where he serves as vice chair of the Agriculture Committee. But with midterm votes still being counted, Valadao is the one remaining California Republican with reason to sweat — he currently holds a slim, 969-vote lead over Democrat TJ Cox, 50.5 percent to 49.5 percent. The son of Portuguese immigrants whose family runs a small dairy farm, Valadao is a lifelong resident of Hanford, where he lives with his wife, and served in the state Assembly before being elected to Congress. But his seat is seen as perhaps the most vulnerable remaining — it went more than 55 percent for Democrat Clinton over Trump in 2016.
Devin Nunes, R-Visalia
Nunes, 45, first elected to what is now the 22nd District in 2002, vaulted into the limelight with the
House Intelligence Committee he chairs investigating alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia in the 2016 election. In February, he released a four-page memorandum asserting the FBI in 2016 “may have relied on politically motivated or questionable sources” in launching its election interference investigation. His role, which will end with the Democratic takeover of the House next year, made him a re-election target for the district, where Trump got 52 percent of the vote in 2016. But Nunes beat Democrat Andrew Janz this month with 56.5 percent of the vote to win his ninth term.
Ken Calvert, R-Corona
Calvert, 65, a lifelong Corona resident, worked in restaurants and real estate before being elected to what is now the 42nd District in 1992. Trump won his district by more than 53 percent in 2016, and Calvert was among Republican representatives who traveled with the president on his recent visit to survey wildfire damage. Calvert is the original author of the E-Verify law, which provides a means for employers to verify a prospective job applicant’s citizenship and eligibility to work and prevent immigration law violators from working illegally. Calvert’s career suffered an early hiccup in 1993 after he admitted having sex with a hooker in his car in 1993, though he denied paying her and wasn’t arrested. Calvert easily defeated Democrat Julia Peacock this month to win another term with 58 percent of the vote.
Duncan D. Hunter, R-El Cajon
Hunter, 41, a Marine Corps veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, became the first combat
veteran of those wars in Congress when he won the 50th District in 2008. He succeeded his father and namesake, Duncan L. Hunter, representing the seat in eastern San Diego County that Trump carried with nearly 55 percent of the vote. In August, federal prosecutors secured an indictment alleging Hunter and his wife used $250,000 in campaign funds for personal uses and falsified records. In 2016 he and his wife, who have three children, sold their Alpine home and moved in with his father to repay some inappropriate campaign expenditures. Despite the legal troubles, Hunter was narrowly re-elected this month, defeating Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar with 52.5 percent of the vote.
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