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Casey Christie / The Californian

Congressman Kevin McCarthy has fun in the food line at the Downtowner Expo Event Center during the Kern County Republican Party election night event.

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Casey Christie / The Californian

Shannon Grove spends a few moments with her brother Tony Cain Tuesday night at the Downtowner Expo Event Center. Grove is running for a second state Assembly term, in the 34th Assembly District.

Rep. Kevin McCarthy faced the most aggressive challenger of his six-year congressional career this election, but still coasted victory.

With all precincts reporting, McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, won with 73.8 percent of the vote while Terry Phillips, running with no party affiliation, had 26.2 percent.

In Kern County, the breakdown was similar. With all precincts reporting, McCarthy had 75.39 percent and Philips had 24.61 percent.

McCarthy, the third most powerful Republican in the House of Representatives, was sent back to Washington to a fourth two-year term. He'd argued his experience, connections and leadership role made him the best representative for the heavily Republican 23rd Congressional District, which includes much of Kern County plus parts of Los Angeles and Tulare counties.

“I will continue to put forward common sense solutions to foster private sector job creation, achieve energy independence, and strengthen our national defense for a safer America,” McCarthy said in a statement. “As we move forward, I will continue to listen to our communities to ensure that our local voices and values are heard in Washington."

Phillips tried to portray McCarthy as a partisan contributing to gridlocked government and out of touch with the district because of his time spent on leadership duties.

"This has been a tremendous election, and I could not be happier with the results," Phillips said. "We have demonstrated definitively that voters could have a real choice for change and better choice for change."

In other easy wins for incumbents:

* In the 34th Assembly District, Assemblywoman Shannon Grove, R-Bakersfield, easily won a second two-year term. With all precincts reporting, Grove beat Democrat Mari Goodman, a union representative from Tehachapi, with 70.2 percent of the vote compared with Goodman's 29.8 percent.

* Assembly Minority Leader Connie Conway, R-Tulare, handily defeated Democrat and political newcomer Jonathon Sosa of Visalia for the 26th Assembly District seat.

With all precincts reporting, Conway had 67.6 percent and Sosa 32.4 percent. The district includes the Kern River Valley.

In Kern County, Conway took 69.36 percent and Sosa received 30.64 percent with all precincts reporting.