The Associated Press projects that Republican nominee Kevin Kiley will win the open seat for California’s newly drawn 3rd House district, defeating his Democratic opponent, Kermit Jones, in a crucial victory for Republicans.
The GOP win in this district gives Republicans 220 seats, a slight majority when the 118th US Congress convenes next January. Votes are still being counted in three House races.
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The Golden State has the largest Congressional delegation with 52 members, though this count has shrunk from 53 seats due to stalling population growth reflected in recent redistricting.
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The newly redrawn 3rd Congressional District, the largest in the state, is a wide-spanning, Republican-leaning region that stretches along California’s eastern border from greater-Sacramento down to Death Valley.
Kiley, a Republican State Assemblyman since 2016, has been a vocal critic of California Governor Gavin Newsom and his leadership of the state, helping lead the effort to recall Newsom last year.
The Trump-endorsed candidate has touted his lifelong roots in the district and has sought to frame his Democratic opponent, Kermit Jones, as a carpetbagger and ally of elite Democrats.
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Jones is a Navy veteran and physician who has never held political office. Given the Republican bend of the district, Jones attempted to distance himself from the Democratic Party at times, refusing to support another Speakership term for Nancy Pelosi.