Former Fresno congressman TJ Cox has made it official: He’s not running for the third straight time against Rep. David Valadao, the Hanford Republican.
Instead, Cox is endorsing Assemblyman Rudy Salas (D–Bakersfield).
“No one knows their district better than Rudy,” Cox said in a news release. “No one has delivered more for their district than Rudy. This year alone he has delivered over 50 million dollars for public safety, water and education.
“He’s raised wages for farmworkers and lowered healthcare costs for families. His track record as a fearless and independent representative for the Valley will serve him well in Congress.”
Salas Is Valadao’s Most High-Profile Challenger
The combination of Salas’ high profile and fundraising ability is expected to make him a formidable challenger against Valadao, who ousted Cox from California’s 21st congressional seat in a close race in 2020.
Cox, a Democrat, previously knocked Valadao out of the House in 2018 in a nail-biter determined by 862 votes out of 113,616 votes cast.
The actual district in which Valadao will square off against Salas and other challengers won’t be decided until the redistricting commission decides on the boundaries next month.
Political watchers have called Valadao’s seat one of the most vulnerable in the nation.
Chris Mathys, the former Fresno city councilman, is challenging Valadao from the right. Many Republican groups are upset over Valadao voting to impeach former President Donald Trump.
Delano Mayor Brian Osorio and former Assemblywoman-turned-lobbyist Nicole Parra, both Democrats, are also in the race.