TJ Cox declared victory in his congressional race to unseat three-term incumbent David Valadao (R-Hanford) in a race that is being watched across the nation.
After Wednesday (Nov. 28) vote count updates in Fresno and Kings counties, Cox proclaimed himself the winner.
“I am elated to announce that we have won the election for California’s 21st Congressional District. I want to thank my wife Kathy and our entire family for their love and support throughout this campaign. I could not have done this without them,” Cox wrote in an email statement.
The Democratic candidate in California’s 21st district congressional race picked up 52% of the final batch of 1,438 votes in Kings County, which updated at 10:45 a.m. PT.
With the latest update, Cox now has a 529-vote lead, picking up 93 net votes (70 in Kings and 23 in Fresno).
Kristine Lee, the Kings County clerk, says there are no more votes to count. She must still conduct a 1% manual tally and plans to certify the count by the end of the week.
On Fresno’s election website, it also says all eligible votes have been counted and are in the manual tally phase.
In Fresno County, Cox picked up 53% of the 393 vote update as of 1:52 p.m. PT.
“Voters across the district resonated with our message of expanding health care, creating good jobs, and fighting for our families’ futures. I am truly humbled to have received so much support. I am honored to be the next Representative serving all of our communities throughout the 21st District. Now that the election is over, it’s time to get to work,” Cox said.
Valadao’s campaign team did not answer requests for comment.
Valadao Strong in Kings County
Kings County provided Valadao with his highest percentage of support. He finishes at 62%. He also won the majority in Fresno, with 51%.
Election night returns saw Valadao with an 8 percentage-point margin, or about 5,000 votes. Many, including the Associated Press, assumed he was the winner.
Mail, Other Late Ballots Favor Cox
But vote returns of mail-in, provisional, and conditional ballots have gone strongly toward Cox, enough so to turn things around. Some local election watchers credit a strong ground game, especially in Kern County.
Cox is participating in today’s Democratic caucus in Washington, casting votes for the party’s leadership. His staff would not say yet how he voted for Nancy Pelosi for House Speaker.
Here’s a breakdown by county support of the two candidates:
|County (percentage of District 21)||Valadao||Cox|
Through 11/28/2018, 1:52 p.m. PT