Rep. David Valadao wins reelection in endangered Central Valley congressional seat
By Matt Viser, The Arizona Republic
The Arizona Republic
VALACAO — David Valadao has been a fixture in the Central Valley for more than four decades. He is the congressman from Maricopa County, a moderate Democrat who doesn’t take an overly aggressive position when it comes to immigration or gun control, the sort of lawmaker with whom other Democrats and Republicans would identify as a reliable vote.
As he heads into the final months of his first term in office, he sees his race against Republican Rep. Debbie Lesko getting even more competitive, as more people with conservative views are coming out to vote. His campaign hopes are bolstered by an aggressive fundraising operation, which has helped Valadao raise more than $700,000 in his first month leading up to Election Day.
The biggest fundraising surge of his campaign came after a campaign ad that aired on television networks on Oct. 24 and portrayed Valadao as too soft on immigration and too tough on crime. The ad, called “Too soft on illegal immigration, or Too tough on crime?” was paid for by Valadao’s political action committee.
It wasn’t a bad ad. But Valadao has said the ad didn’t play too well for his campaign, which has received criticism from both sides as they try to gain on the campaign of Lesko.
The ad was part of a larger campaign against gun rights, a position Valadao has also criticized as being too soft on crime.
Valadao said the ads were just a small part of the campaign, and it was the voters who ultimately chose who won the seat.
“I’m not a politician,” he said. “I’m not someone who needs to use people’s emotions. I am what I am. And that’s someone who can say what I want to say.”
By the time voters cast their votes this week, Valadao has won reelection in the state’s only Democratic seat. In this year’s election, he and Lesko were running against former Rep. Trent Franks, now the governor. But Valadao has said he still doesn’t know whether he could get the