BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — This June and November, voters in Kern will face a slate of options at the ballot box. 17 News is sitting down with Kern’s candidates so the county can make informed decisions.
We are turning to one of the most competitive races in the nation — The Central Valley’s 22nd congressional district, which includes parts of Kern, Kings and Tulare counties as well as portions of cities such as Bakersfield, Hanford, Tulare, Arvin, Delano and Porterville.
This is a Latino-majority district that leans Democratic in terms of registration. Voters in this district would have voted for Joe Biden in 2020 by a margin of almost 13%. However, Republicans have seen high turnout in this region previously. Incumbent David Valadao (R-Hanford) won this area as a Republican on the same ticket in which the district voted for Biden by about 11%.
Three candidates are hoping to unseat Valadao: Republican Chris Mathys, Republican Adam Medeiros and Democrat Rudy Salas.
A Closer look at Chris Mathys
Over the years, 64-year-old Chris Mathys has held many identities.
He served in the army and worked at a radio station before earning his bachelors in Political Science from Fresno State and MBA from the University of the Southwest.
For the last 30 years, he has worked in real estate and even served a term on Fresno’s City Council.
None of that seems to be as significant to Mathys as his allegiance to one man.
“What I can say is if you support President Trump and you support the work he did, I am your candidate because I strongly believe our country was better off with President Trump,” Mathys said.
It is a loyalty Mathys is banking on carrying him to political victory this June, and a fidelity he believes is so tethered to his identity that he wanted ‘Trump Conservative/Businessman’ as his ballot designation, going as far as to unsuccessfully sue the Secretary of State after she rejected his request.
So, after a failed bid for a New Mexico House seat in 2020, perhaps it is not surprising that the Fresno businessman’s reason for entering the 22nd congressional district race comes down to one vote.
“It’s very simple, David Valadao, my main opponent decided to impeach President Trump,” he said. “My question for David Valadao–why would you vote to impeach a president when he’s a Republican and a member of your same party? That is the main reason I’m in this race.”
Valadao’s decision to impeach former President Donald Trump for Trump’s role in the Jan. 6 capitol attack was such a catalyst for Mathys that he decided to stay in the race despite his home in Fresno being cut out of the newly-drawn 22nd district lines.
And when it comes to the issues?
“Let’s get Americans back to work, let’s stop the vaccination requirements, stop the mask requirements and let America be free and this big government needs to take a step back,” Mathys said.
The Conservative Republican, who has not been vaccinated against COVID-19 himself, is a part of a club called RINO Hunters – a group attempting to oust the House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump.
The staunch pro-lifer also wants to prioritize gun rights, border security and ramping up oil production domestically.