Republican John Duarte wins open House seat in California after Democrat concedes


Democrat Adam Gray conceded on Friday night to Republican John Duarte in the open-seat race to represent California’s 13th Congressional District, the final House race of the 2022 midterms to be called.

“While I had hoped for a different outcome, I accept the results and have called to congratulate my opponent, John Duarte,” Gray, a state assemblyman, said in a statement posted to Twitter.

With Duarte’s win in the Central Valley district, Republicans are projected to hold a slim majority in the House of Representatives next year, with 222 seats.

Democrats are projected to win 213 seats in this year’s midterms, but the recent death of Virginia Democrat Donald McEachin just weeks after he won reelection means they are expected to start the new Congress with one fewer seat. McEachin’s seat will remain vacant until a special election is held.

The House seat counts by both parties following the midterm elections is reminiscent of the totals after the 2020 election – in reverse. House Democrats won 222 seats in 2020 to 213 for the Republicans.

Incoming House Republicans’ slim majority has prompted internal questions within the party about whether GOP leader Kevin McCarthy will have the necessary 218 votes needed to secure the House speakership in January.

McCarthy has expressed confidence, insisting that he has enough votes. But conservative hard-liners seeking to plot the California Republican’s ouster say otherwise.

No other Republican has declared their candidacy for the speaker’s post, but McCarthy’s foes say another candidate will emerge and that talks have already begun to recruit a replacement.

Republicans will now hold 12 House seats from California next year, up one from their current 11 seats. California Democrats will hold 40 seats, down two from their current total. The state lost a seat in reapportionment following the 2020 census.

Five of the 12 California districts Republicans will hold next year would have backed now-President Joe Biden in 2020. They include the seat won by Duarte, which Biden would have carried by 11 points.

This story has been updated with additional details.

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