Former House Republican flips central California seat

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FILE – In this Jan. 6, 2015, file photo, Rep. David Valadao, R-Calif., poses during a ceremonial re-enactment of his swearing-in ceremony in the Rayburn Room on Capitol Hill in Washington. Valadao has reclaimed the U.S. House seat he lost in the California farm belt two years ago. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — Republicans have picked up their 11th seat overall in the U.S. House and the third seat in California.

David Valadao reclaimed the U.S. House seat he lost in the farm belt two years ago. The former congressman defeated Democratic Rep. TJ Cox, who ousted Valadao in the 21st Congressional District two years ago by 862 votes.

Valadao had endorsed President Donald Trump after withholding his backing in 2016 — a risk in a swing district the president lost by 15 points four years ago.

But he also stressed his independence, such as criticizing the Trump administration for family separations at the border and promoting his willingness to work across party lines.

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