Democrat TJ Cox declared victory Nov. 28 over three-term Republican incumbent David Valadao in the 21st Congressional District race after the latest ballot count showed him leading by more than 500 votes.
“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.”
Representatives from Valadao's office could not be reached for comment.
Cox has been steadily gaining on his opponent since election night, which saw him losing 46.3 percent to Valadao’s 53.7 percent of the vote.
Mail-in and provisional ballots are counted in the weeks after Election Day, and the results from the late counting have put Cox over the edge.
The 21st District encompasses parts of Fresno, Kern, Tulare and Kings counties. Although thousands of ballots remain to be counted, Fresno County has concluded its vote count, and Kings County only needs to count ballots sent in late due to signature mismatches before it finishes its ballot count.
With only Kern County and Tulare County remaining, Cox leads Valadao by 506 votes.
“Voters across the district resonated with our message of expanding health care, creating good jobs and fighting for our families’ future,” Cox said. “I am truly humbled to have received so much support. I am honored to be the next Representative serving all of our communities throughout the 21st District. Now that the election is over, it’s time to get to work.”
As of Nov. 27, 2,919 votes remained to be counted in Kern County. If trends continue in the county, Cox should hold his lead.
So far 61.1 percent of Kern County voters have voted for Cox, compared to 38.9 for Valadao.
Tulare County makes up only a small portion of District 21, making it unlikely to impact the results. Employees of the Tulare County Elections Office did not know how many votes remained to be counted as of Nov. 28.
The California Secretary of State’s Office puts Cox’s vote total at 56,426 compared to Valadao’s 55,920, or 50.2 percent to 49.8 percent.