By Jim EllisNov. 24, 2020 — Unofficial victory projections are being made for California’s 21st Congressional District in favor of Republican former Rep. David Valadao (R-Hanford). It is becoming clearer as more mail votes are being counted and the pool of remaining ballots diminishes to under 10,000, that Valadao has defeated freshman Rep. T.J. Cox (D-Fresno) in one of the few remaining undetermined congressional campaigns.
Real Clear Politics, the Cook Political Report, and the local Fresno Bee newspaper are all reporting that Valadao has won the race, though the former Congressman himself has yet to declare victory and Cox has not conceded defeat.
Valadao, who previously served three terms in the House after his original election in 2012 before losing to Rep. Cox in a tight 862-vote margin two years ago, currently leads the 2020 outcome by 1,618 tabulations.
Cox has attracted 58.5 percent of the vote in Kern County, the district’s largest population entity, but with approximately 9,000-11,000 votes remaining at most even such a large percentage will likely leave him over 1,000 tallies short of Valadao’s total. Over 1,500 votes remain in Kings County, in which the Republican recorded 62.1 percent support. Tulare County, which finds only eight percent of the voting population contained within the congressional district, split almost evenly between the two men as Cox leads there by just 21 votes. Fresno County has fully reported.
The Valadao victory means the Republicans have now gained a net 10 seats with three races remaining outstanding. A fourth undetermined race, that in Louisiana’s 5th CD, is going to a post-election runoff on Dec. 5. While the winning candidate is yet unidentified, the secondary election is between two Republican candidates, former congressional aide Luke Letlow and state Rep. Lance Harris (R-Alexandria), so the GOP is assured of holding the seat.
Also, in California, freshman Rep. Mike Garcia (R-Santa Clarita) is claiming to have won the north Los Angeles/Ventura County 25th District. Though only leading by exactly 400 votes with what looks to be in the neighborhood of 4,500 ballots waiting for verification and counting, this razor-thin race looks to be coming down to the final few ballots.
Democratic opponent Christy Smith, a first-term state assemblywoman, accused Rep. Garcia’s victory declaration as being “dangerous to our democratic process.” She then immediately filed a 2022 congressional committee with the Federal Elections Commission. Therefore, if Garcia does in fact win the contest, it appears we will see the third edition of a Garcia-Smith campaign two years from now.