FRESNO — Another Democrat has won a congressional race in California and another Asian Pacific American is heading for the House of Representatives.
In the 21st Congressional District, with the counting of ballots continuing long after the Nov. 6 election, Democrat TJ Cox on Nov. 28 declared victory over the Republican incumbent, David Valadao, who conceded on Dec. 6.
As of Dec. 3, Cox had 56,847 votes (50.3 percent) to Valadao’s 56,224 (49.7 percent), a margin of 623 votes.
The district is centered in the San Joaquin Valley and includes areas of Fresno, Ken, Kings and Tulare counties. Cities include Coalinga, Delano, Hanford, and parts of Bakersfield. Valadao has represented the district since 2013.
“I am elated to announce that we have won the election for California’s 21st Congressional District,” Cox said in a statement. “I want to thank my wife Kathy and our entire family for their love and support throughout this campaign. I could not have done this without them.
“I also want to thank the staff, volunteers and supporters who worked tirelessly to make this win a reality. Even when the outlook may have seemed dim, they never gave up. This campaign was fueled by their energy and passion to make a positive difference in lives of the hard-working people here in the Central Valley.
“And I would like to thank Congressman David Valadao and his family for their six years of service to our country and the communities of the 21st District.”
Cox is a California-born son of immigrants. His mother is from the Philippines and his father, who is of Chinese and European descent, came from China.
“I wouldn’t be standing here today if it wasn’t for the Filipino votes,” Cox told Balitang America. “The largest town in our district is Delano; there’s probably 30 percent Filipino population there. And I’ve only won this race by 500 votes [at the time of the interview]. So the Filipinos who came out and voted for me, thank you very much. You made this happen today.”
According to his website, “After working his way through college, TJ spent a decade in engineering and construction across the globe. Volunteering for Habitat for Humanity in Fresno led him to create the Central Valley Fund, which raises money for projects located in economically-disadvantaged neighborhoods throughout the Central Valley. Since starting from scratch in 2010, the Central Valley Fund has raised and invested more than $65 million dollars to build health clinics, job-training centers, affordable housing, and clean energy plants.
“TJ works in the neighborhoods where Wall Street and the banks just won’t go. These projects have created more than 1,500 well-paying jobs and have brought health care to over 40,000 Central Valley residents.
“As the founder of two innovative and successful nut processing businesses, TJ Cox knows first-hand that agriculture drives our Central Valley economy. In Congress, TJ will continue to create high-paying jobs in health care, agriculture, and other industries. He will work to foster new agricultural businesses, create innovative farming techniques, fight for fair trade deals, and invest in job training.”
The 21st is one of seven Republican-held districts in California that voted for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump in 2016 and were flipped by Democratic challengers in the November midterms.
Another Asian American Democrat, Fresno County Deputy District Attorney Andrew Janz, was unable to unseat the Republican incumbent, Devin Nunes of Tulare, in the 22nd Congressional District. However, Janz came within 6 percentage points of victory, compared to Nunes’ win by 44 percentage points in the 2014 midterm.
“We gave him reason to sweat,” said former Rep. Ellen Tauscher, chair of Fight Back CA SuperPAC.
Because of the new Democratic majority in the House, Nunes will have to relinquich the chairmanship of the Intelligence Committee to the current ranking member, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank).