Another close House race got called Monday night by the AP, and this one has some notable implications. Rep. David Valadao defeated Democrat Rudy Salas in California, making him only the second GOP House member who voted to impeach former President Trump to win reelection, notes the New York Times. Rep. Dan Newhouse of Washington is the other. The other eight Republicans who voted to impeach either lost their primaries—Liz Cheney being the most prominent of them—or chose to retire. Valadao's victory gives Republicans 219 seats in next year's House (they already had clinched the magic number of 218), with a handful of races still undecided.
The Wall Street Journal sees the Trump report card from the midterms as "complicated." That only two of 10 House Republicans who voted against him will be returning (four retired and four lost primaries) seems to be a sign of his clout. On the other hand, many Trump-backed candidates did well in the primaries only to lose in the general election. For example, two of the GOP House members who voted to impeach, Reps. Peter Miejer and Jaime Herrera Butler, did indeed lose their primaries, but each of the candidates who beat them lost to Democrats in the general election.
The AP called the race with Valadao up 52%-48%, by a total of about 4,500 votes, with 98% of the ballots counted. He represents the 22nd District, where Democrats have an overwhelming advantage in voter registration. However, Valadao has the reputation of being a bipartisan lawmaker who is willing to work with both parties. “I assume there’s always people who are gonna be mad,” Valadao said last month while campaigning with Mike Pence. “When we look at what’s going on in the country right now, I hope their focus is we could actually make a real difference in this coming election and actually change things for these folks.” (Read more David Valadao stories.)