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AP Declares Nunes, Costa Winners in Congressional Contests

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Jim Costa and Devin Nunes have been re-elected to Congress. The Associated Press has called the races in favor of both incumbents who represent parts of the city of Fresno.

Nunes, a Tulare Republican, earned his 10th term, defeating Phil Arballo — a Fresno financial professional — 53.5% to 46.5% based on current results.

Winning his ninth term, Costa (D-Fresno) defeated Kevin Cookingham — a retired educator living in Madera County — 60.5% to 39.5% results at this point show.

While votes continue to be counted in both races, the news organization does not believe the the outcomes will change.

Another “Close” Win for Nunes

For much Nunes’ congressional electoral career, he experienced relatively easy and double-digit victories. In 2018, Fresno County prosecutor Andrew Janz came the closest any Nunes opponent had, falling by 5.4%.

With all precincts reporting in the two counties that comprise the 22nd Congressional District, Fresno and Tulare, Nunes is poised for a seven-point win.

Nunes raised more than $23 million in this election cycle, a record for him. He spent the money early and often, with television and radio advertisements criticizing his opponent.

Arballo raised more than $4 million, far less than the $9 million haul Janz took in two years ago. Arballo campaigned that Nunes lost touch with Central Valley voters, more of an ally of President Donald Trump than the people he represented.

At a news conference at his Fresno campaign office Wednesday afternoon, Arballo refused to concede.

“We still have to wait for every vote to be counted. But again, we expect this race to tighten,” Arballo said, surrounded by his wife and children. “We know it’s an uphill battle, but I think the proper thing to do is to make sure that every vote is counted.”

GV Wire℠ estimates there are 117,000 votes remaining at most, but exact figures are not available.

Arballo said “sometimes the AP does get it wrong,” referring to TJ Cox defeating incumbent David Valadao in 2018. After election night, AP declared Valadao the winner.

After this story updated with Arballo’s refusal to concede, he had a change of heart.

“Following his remarks this afternoon, Phil had further deliberations with his family and is conceding the race. Again, he believes the race will tighten, but that we will come up short,” campaign manager Andrew Feldman said.

Congress 22 Fresno Tulare TOTAL Lead
Nunes 82,663 43,359 126,022                16,426
Arballo 74,940 34,656 109,596

Costa Cruises to Another Term

Like Nunes, Costa enjoyed a significant advantage in fundraising. He raised nearly $2 million, compared to $245,000 Cookingham raised according to the last federal filings.

Costa avoided being “primaried” in March, coming on top of a four-person race, besting Fresno councilwoman and fellow Democrat, Esmeralda Soria.

There were fewer, if any, radio and TV ads compared to the other local congressional races.

Of the three counties that comprise the 16th Congressional District, Cookingham led in one — Madera County.

Congress 16 Fresno Merced Madera TOTAL Lead
Costa 46,472               34,272                 12,177                92,921      32,226
Cookingham 20,254               25,806                 14,635                60,695

David Taub has spent most of his career in journalism behind the scenes working as a TV assignment editor and radio producer. For more than a decade, he has worked in the Fresno market with such stops at KSEE-24, KMJ and Power Talk 96.7. Taub also worked the production and support side of some of TV sports biggest events including the Super Bowl, the NBA Finals and NASCAR to name a few. Taub graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email