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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

Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email