Republican Kevin Kiley, a state lawmaker who has become a conservative favorite for his pointed and unrelenting criticism of Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, captured a U.S. House seat on Tuesday in northeastern California. .
With 83% of the ballots counted, Kiley secured nearly 53% of the vote to defeat Democrat Kermit Jones, a physician and Navy veteran.
Victory will close the Republican margin of control in the House. The GOP snatched a majority from Democrats last week when California Rep. Mike Garcia won re-election and gave the party its 218th seat. With Kiley’s victory, the tally rises to 220 Republicans and 212 Democrats.
“Voters want a new direction,” Kiley said in a post-election interview last week as he awaited the results in the 3rd congressional district that stretches from suburban Sacramento to the interior spine of the city. ‘State. “The House is going to be the vehicle to effect the change that voters are looking for.”
Even with the victory, Republicans will remain a small minority in the state’s congressional delegation. Of the 52 seats — the largest congressional delegation — GOP candidates had won only 11 districts with a race still too early to call.
The main issues in Kiley’s race mirrored House and Senate campaigns across the country.
State Assemblyman Kiley argued that California was in turmoil under Democratic rule in Washington and Sacramento, with residents abused by inflation and anxious by rising crime. He sought to portray Jones as an eager foot soldier waiting if the Democrats retained their majority and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi remained in office.
Kiley has emerged as a conservative champion for his consistent criticism of Newsom, particularly in the 2021 recall election which the governor easily survived. Kiley finished sixth in the field of candidates on the ballot to replace Newsom if voters wanted him removed.
Jones promised to protect access to reproductive health care, control education costs and tackle the homelessness crisis.
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