Hurtado suspends campaign, endorses Salas in CD 22 bid

State Sen. Melissa Hurtado endorses fellow Democrat Rudy Salas for Congressional District 22 seat after coming in last in the primary

Melissa Hurtado
Serena Bettis
Published March 15, 2024  • 
12:00 pm

BAKERSFIELD – Democratic State Sen. Melissa Hurtado suspended her Congressional campaign last week after receiving the smallest share of the vote in the four-way race for the U.S. House of Representatives District 22 seat. 

Hurtado announced the suspension and endorsed fellow Democrat and former state legislator Rudy Salas in a March 7 statement. Hurtado, who has served in the California Senate since 2018 and currently represents Senate District 16, first announced her Congressional campaign on Aug. 22, 2023. 

“I’m profoundly grateful to the friends, family, supporters and volunteers who helped during my Congressional campaign,” Hurtado said in a statement. “Elections serve to amplify our Valley’s issues, including the pressing water crisis affecting farmers, farmworkers and our communities, expanding access to health care, protecting reproductive freedom and reducing inflation in our economy.”

Salas will move on to the Nov. 5 general election along with Republican incumbent David Valadao. Also in the Congressional District 22 race was conservative Republican Chris Mathys. 

Unofficial election results updated as of March 14 showed Valadao securing 33% of the vote with Salas close behind at 30.5%. Mathys, who also ran in the District 22 primary in 2022, received 22.5% of the vote, and Hurtado came up last with 14%. 

Throughout the course of her campaign, Hurtado raised $76,740.98, according to campaign finance data from the Federal Election Commission (FEC). Mathys raised just over $335,000, Salas brought in just under $747,000 and Valadao raised more than $2.2 million. All totals are based on total receipts collected by the FEC between Jan. 1, 2023 and Feb. 14, 2024.

In her endorsement of Salas for the Congressional seat, Hurtado said that “unity is crucial in tackling our collective challenges, and I know that Rudy is prepared for the task.” 

Valadao and Salas will face off once again in the November general election for a Congressional seat that could impact which political party controls the House next year. Valadao won the race in 2022 by a slim margin of 3,132 votes.

Hurtado will remain in the State Senate, representing portions of Fresno, Kern, Kings and Tulare counties; her current four-year term ends in 2026. She narrowly defeated Republican David Shepard in the November 2022 election, winning the State Senate seat by fewer than 20 votes.

Serena Bettis
General Assignment Reporter