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Victory in Valadao – Cox Rematch Again Hinges on Kern Voters

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After a Tuesday night update from Tulare County, incumbent TJ Cox (D-Fresno) picked up a net 15 votes from 319 new votes added (taking 52.4%), to reduce challenger David Valadao’s lead to 4,026 votes.

There will be no updated vote count Wednesday in the 21st Congressional District race on account of the Veterans Day holiday.

Tulare County Vote Returns of November 10

Tulare  County  New Votes  For Cox  For Valadao  Difference
                         319                        167                             152                            15 for Cox
52.4% 47.6%

Four counties make up the 21st District, all with varying amounts of ballots remaining and differing update frequencies.

Kings County, which makes up 23% of the district, has halted all counting until Nov. 21 because of a staff COVID-19 exposure. County registrar Lupe Villa has said 1,529 ballots remain county wide, all 21st District voters.

Kings is the only county where all the voters fall within the same congressional district. Fresno, Tulare and Kern voters are split among multiple congressional districts.

Fresno County expects its next update on Friday afternoon.

Updated Overall Vote Count by Number and by County

Congress 21 Fresno Tulare Kings Kern TOTAL Lead Percentage
Cox (D) 27,528 2,699 15,811 22,286 68,324 48.6%
Valadao (R) 29,212 2,686 25,906 14,546 72,350         4,026 51.4%
Last reported  Tu, 1:45 p.m.  Tu, 5:10 p.m.  F, 2:53 p.m.  Tu, 1:11 p.m.
Estimated remainder in CD 21                          844                        420                         1,529                    31,385      34,178

Remaining Votes and Needed Total to Win

GV Wire estimates 34,178 votes remaining to be counted across the four counties. That is based on the overall total of votes remaining in the county, multiplied by the percentage of voters that fall within the 21st District.

Kern County has the bulk of the estimated remaining ballots at 31,385.

For Cox to close the 4,000-plus vote gap, he would need 55.8% of the remaining vote. That number can fluctuate dependent on vote returns.

Kern has been Cox’s strongest county in the vote returns, taking 60.5% of the votes counted so far. It is on par with his 2018 vote return in Kern County.

However, in the two updates since initial election night returns, Cox’s percentage of new votes has decreased. In an Nov. 7 update, Cox took 58.6% of newly counted Kern County votes; yesterday, he earned 55.9%.

According to the Secretary of State, Kern is still counting vote-by-mail and same-day registration ballots.

Updated percentages for other counties have been more consistent with the overall figures for that county.

If the same ratios continue for the remaining ballots on a county-by-county basis, Cox would pick up a net of 6,201 votes and win the election.

Just as in 2018 when Cox defeated Valadao by 862 votes, this one could go down to the wire again.

Vote Returns by County by Percentage

Congress 21 Fresno Tulare Kings Kern
Cox (D) 48.5% 50.1% 37.9% 60.5%
Valadao (R) 51.5% 49.9% 62.1% 39.5%

Estimated Vote Share of Remaining Ballots

Estimated Vote Share Fresno Tulare Kings Kern TOTAL Lead
Cox                         409                        211                             580                    18,990      20,190         6,201
Valadao                         435                        209                             949                    12,395      13,988

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