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Valadao, McCarthy hold unofficial leads in 21st, 23rd congressional district races

Local congressional races shifted focus to the Nov. 3 general election after Republican David Valadao maintained his lead Wednesday over incumbent Rep. T.J. Cox and Rep. Kevin McCarthy continued to hold off Democratic challenger Kim Mangone.

Valadao, the Hanford farmer whose three successive congressional terms ended with a narrow loss to Cox in 2018, preliminarily took 53.1 percent of the vote as compared with the 36.1 percent won by the Fresno Democrat in California's 21st Congressional District race.

In the 23rd District, House minority leader McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, held an unofficial, 69.6 percent-to-30.4 percent lead over political newcomer Mangone, a former systems engineer in Quartz Hill.

Both races will be decided in November because California's "jungle primary" leaves the top two finishers to face off in the general election.

Valadao said Tuesday he looked forward to earning voters' support in November, after which time he planned to set aside partisan fights and get to work in Washington, D.C.

Cox drew attention to his 26-point loss to Valadao in the 2018 primary and the turnaround that followed months later.

“We went on to victory in the general election," he said by email, "by out-working him, by being in the community, listening to the voters’ needs and promising to make a real difference in their lives."

McCarthy said he was humbled by his constituents' continued faith in him.

"I’m deeply grateful for the overwhelming support and will continue to fight for our community and our values in the People’s House,” he said in a statement.

Mangone's campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday.

Wednesday's voting is considered preliminary. No state election results will be certified as official until all vote-by-mail, provisional and other ballots are fully tallied, a process that could take until April 3.

John Cox can be reached at 661-395-7404. Follow him on Twitter: @TheThirdGraf.

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