Earlier, Republicans regained control of the House. With Valadao’s victory, Republicans will hold 219 seats next year, Democrats 212. Counting is not yet finished in a handful of other undecided races.
Trump never significantly engaged in the race and Valadao, a dairy farmer and son of Portuguese immigrants, had the state GOP endorsement and the backing of House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy, who is close to the former president.
Valadao didn’t support then-candidate Trump in 2016, but then backed his reelection four years later.
However, Valadao would break with Trump’s White House at times, including criticizing the administration for family separations at the border. He ran in 2020 as “an independent problem solver” and in one ad highlighted his work with former President Barack Obama on water issues critical to the region.
He has called Trump a driving force in the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection. Trump’s “inciting rhetoric was un-American, abhorrent, and absolutely an impeachable offense,” Valadao has said.