Former Congressman David Valadao announced his candidacy Wednesday for the 21st Congressional district seat.
Valadao, a Republican from Hanford, lost to Rep. TJ Cox (D-Fresno) by a margin of 862 votes during the 2018 election. In what was one of the last-called and closest Congressional races in the country, Cox received 57,239 votes (50.4%), while Valadao received 56,377 (49.6%).
Before his 2018 defeat, Valadao, who comes from a family of dairy farmers, represented the 21st Congressional district for three terms, beginning in 2012.
The 21st Congressional district extends as far north as Fresno County, includes parts of Bakersfield, and is expands as far south as Arvin.
As it currently stands, the Kern County portion of the 21st Congressional District is home to 50,279 registered Democrats (51%), 16,642 registered Republicans (17%), and 26,759 no party preference voters (27%).
In an interview with KGET’s Eytan Wallace, Valadao said he was confident he can defeat his opponent in 2020, and added he will hit the campaign trail.
In a statement, the Valadao campaign wrote:
“I am a proud son of the Central Valley. My parents came to the Central Valley as immigrants to follow their dreams and build a better future for their family. This is where I was born, raised, and where my wife and I chose to raise our family.David Valadao for Congress
“This community is my home, and I’ve always fought to do what’s right for the Central Valley.
“The Central Valley needs a strong voice they can trust representing them in Congress – someone who listens and understands that Central Valley residents just want an opportunity to provide and build a better life for their families.
“That’s why I’m running to represent California’s 21st District.
“I cannot continue to sit silent while TJ Cox pursues a radical liberal agenda that hurts our communities. The Central Valley needs a full-time Representative that people can be proud of and trust.
“This community faces many challenges. We need to protect our water, make health care more affordable and accessible, work to bring new jobs and job training to the Central Valley, and stand up for seniors and veterans to ensure they get the benefits they deserve.
“I’m ready and able to tackle these challenges. I can make a difference for the Central Valley, and I will work day in and day out for the honor and privilege of serving this community.”
In a statement that did not address Valadao by name, the TJ Cox for Congress Campaign touted Mr. Cox’s accomplishments during his tenure in Congress.
“Congressman TJ Cox hit the ground running when he took office in January, and he’s already delivering for the working families of the Central Valley and standing up to Trump’s out of control presidency.TJ Cox for Congress Campaign
“In less than a year, he has introduced bold, bipartisan legislation to expand rural health care access, secured $10 million for post-traumatic stress research in service members, he’s delivered millions in funding for desperately needed water storage and infrastructure, and just this week, the president signed Rep. Cox’s bill to provide relief to more family farmers during the agricultural downturn.
“Congressman Cox is laser focused on those priorities and expanding opportunity in the Central Valley.”