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Condit's House seat won by Cardoza

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MODESTO, California (CNN) -- In the seat held by outgoing Rep. Gary Condit, state Assemblyman Dennis Cardoza defeated Republican state Sen. Dick Monteith, CNN projected.

Cardoza, a longtime Condit ally, was recruited by party leaders to run against Condit, who was heavily damaged due to his role in the Chandra Levy scandal. Cardoza easily beat Condit in the primary but Monteith, a center-right Republican who opposes abortion rights, gave Cardoza a stronger-than-expected battle in the 18th District, a key swing district in central California.

Monteith campaigned with national GOP leaders, including House Speaker Dennis Hastert and Vice President Dick Cheney. Cardoza's assembly district makes up about 70 percent of the congressional district, while Monteith represented about 74 percent of the electorate in the state Senate.

Condit was quiet during the general election, although many believe he would like nothing better than to watch his party go down to defeat. In an October 10 letter, Condit's children, Chad and Cadee, wrote: "If this district elects Dennis Cardoza, it will elect someone who cares about one thing: Dennis Cardoza. He is neither Democrat, Republican or independent, but an opportunist that would use anything or anyone to get elected."

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