A month after filing his paperwork and appearing at a public event with the vice president, David Valadao has made it official.

The Hanford Republican is running for Congress in a rematch against TJ Cox (D-Fresno).

“I cannot continue to sit silent while TJ Cox pursues a radical liberal agenda that hurts our communities. The Central Valley needs a full-time Representative that people can be proud of and trust,” Valadao said in an email statement.

Cox’s campaign also issued a statement, touting what he’s done eight months in office thus far.

“Congressman TJ Cox hit the ground running when he took office in January, and he’s already delivering for the working families of the Central Valley and standing up to Trump’s out of control presidency,” his campaign said via email.

Extremely Close Finish in 2018 Race

Cox eeked out a victory in 2018, supplanting Valadao by 862 votes. The election was so close, it wasn’t until weeks later the results became official.

The counting of votes took many twist in turns, with Cox down by a few thousand after election night, but saw his numbers raise as more votes were counted, especially in Kern County.

Part of the election strategy that proved to be successful was tying Valadao’s voting record to President Donald Trump.

Valadao served three terms in Congress, winning elections in 2012, 2014 and 2016. Cox upended him as part of the 2018 Democratic Blue Wave.

The National Republican Congressional Committee has targeted the District 21 race in hopes of reclaiming the seat. Pundits, such as the Cook Political Report, call it a competitive race, with the seat leaning Democratic. Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball gives the race a similar rating.

Business Records at Issue

While Cox touted his record to expand health care, services to the military, and water, he has also been bogged down by stories of financial mismanagement from his private businesses.

He has yet to answer questions regarding a loan made by his former company, Central Valley NMTC, LLC, to the non-profit company running the Granite Park sports facility in Fresno, yet repaid to Cox personally. Concerns over the transactions were raised in an audit conducted by the City of Fresno.

There have also been reports about Cox’s involvement in a Canadian mining company, including not properly listing it on his financial disclosure forms.

Valadao has also suffered from negative publicity about his personal business dealings. His family dairy was seized after failing to repay millions of dollars to creditors.

Confirming What Was Known

Ever since his election loss, Valadao kept a low profile, but offered hints about running again. The strongest indication came July 10, when Valadao spoke at an event near Lemoore featuring Vice President Mike Pence.

At the time, Valadao said he was thinking about running. A week later, he filed his paperwork with the Federal Election Commission.

According to FEC reports, Valadao has $63,863 in cash on hand through June 30. Cox has $483,837. Observers expect outside groups to spend heavy on the race.

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