California’s SACRAMENTO (AP) — Northeastern California’s U.S. House seat went to Republican Kevin Kiley, a state senator who gained popularity among conservatives for his sharp and persistent criticism of Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom.
With 83% of the votes counted, Kiley defeated Democratic candidate and Navy veteran Kermit Jones with just under 53% of the vote.
The victory will increase the Republican Party’s margin of House control. Following the reelection of California Rep. Mike Garcia, who handed the GOP their 218th seat, the GOP reclaimed the majority from the Democrats last week. After Kiley’s triumph, there are 220 Republicans and 212 Democrats in the running.
In a post-election interview last week, Kiley stated that voters in the 3rd Congressional District, which stretches from the Sacramento suburbs through the interior spine of the state, “want a fresh direction.” The House will serve as the means of enacting the change that voters desire.
Republicans will still make up a very small portion of the state’s congressional delegation, even after the victory. Only 11 of the 52 seats, the largest delegation in Congress, had been won by GOP candidates, and one race is still too close to call.
Assemblyman Kiley claimed that California was in chaos under Democratic control in Washington and Sacramento, with residents being ripped off by inflation and alarmed by an increase in crime. If Democrats maintained their majority and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi remained in her position, he attempted to paint Jones as an eager foot soldier ready to go.
For his consistent criticism of Newsom, especially during the governor’s handily won recall election in 2021, Kiley became a conservative champion. If voters had decided to remove Newsom from office, Kiley would have placed sixth among the other candidates on the ticket.