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Kevin Kiley vs. Dr. Kermit Jones | California's 3rd District Congressional race, explained

Though the district leans red, it’s not quite as crimson as its prior incarnation. That’s mostly due to redistricting.

ROSEVILLE, Calif. — Before the state’s electoral map was redrawn, the foothills from Gold County to Kings Canyon were the domain of longtime Republican Rep. Tom McClintock. But the new map divided McClintock’s former dominion in two. And when he opted to run in the southwestern segment, this seat was left wide open. 

Kiley, a Republican Assemblymember from Rocklin, is a darling of California conservatism and a 37-year-old Ivy League-educated lawyer who ran a long-shot campaign for governor in last year’s recall race. He’s spent much of his legislative career introducing equally long-shot bills designed to irk and embarrass Democrats. That has served him well in this congressional race. In the primary, Kiley easily fended off a Republican Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones, helped by Kiley’s frequent appearances on Fox News and his position as one of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s most persistent critics. An endorsement by former President Donald Trump probably helped, too. 

Though the district leans red, it’s not quite as crimson as its prior incarnation. That’s mostly thanks to redistricting. But an influx of Bay Area refugees, driven east both by high home prices on the coast and the pandemic, have also brought their liberal politics with them. Democrat Jones, a Placerville Navy surgeon-turned-internal medicine doctor with a law degree, is hoping his relatively moderate political message, his super-charged resume and his strategy of depicting Kiley as an extremist will give him a fighting chance in a district where Republican voters still predominate.

California's 3rd Congressional District

Credit: CalMatters

Roughly the size of West Virginia, this district runs up the rain-shadowed eastern side of the Sierra, from Death Valley to Lassen National Forest, before spilling out of the mountains into the foothills northeast of Sacramento. Those suburbs are where most of the district’s voters live.

Voter registration: 38.1% Republican, 33.3% Democratic, 19.6% no party preference

Campaign Finance

View below for campaign finance data on the candidates.

This is an abridged version of the full story, which is available at CALmatters.org—a nonprofit, nonpartisan media venture explaining California policies and politics.

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California District 3 Congressional race | Kiley claims victory, Kermit Jones advances

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