Politics & Government

Targeted Democrat TJ Cox raises $300,000 in first quarter, outpacing Valadao’s early totals

Who is TJ Cox?

TJ Cox defeated incumbent David Valadao for California's 21st district Congressional seat.
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TJ Cox defeated incumbent David Valadao for California's 21st district Congressional seat.

The campaign of Rep. TJ Cox, D-Fresno, raised $300,000 in his first three months in office as he looks to defend against a possible Republican challenge in the 2020 presidential election cycle.

Cox’s total outpaces what former 21st District Rep. David Valadao, R-Hanford, raised during his first quarter in office, in 2013. Valadao totaled a little less than $90,000 then. Campaign raising and spending totals have increased across the board over the last six years.

Cox defeated Valadao by less than 1,000 votes in a race not officially won until December. The close margin put Cox squarely in the sights of the Republican Party for 2020, but the GOP has yet to officially recruit a challenger for a district that favors a Democrat by a 16-point margin.

According to his campaign’s financial report, which covers Jan. 1 to March 31, a little more than half of Cox’s $300,000 came from several thousand individual donations. He received about $130,000 from political action committees and party leaders, including $2,000 each from Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer.

Cox does not appear to have received any donations from corporate PACs.

Rep. Jim Costa, the eight-term Fresno Democrat whose 16th District is just north of Cox’s, raised a little more than $100,000 during the first few months of 2019.

Tulare Republican Devin Nunes is typically among the nation’s top political fundraisers, but his campaign had not filed a quarterly report as of 4 p.m. Pacific time Monday. The reports were due Monday.

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Rory Appleton is a fourth-generation Fresnan who covers politics for his hometown newspaper. A Fresno State graduate, he has won six first-place California News Publishers Association awards and a McClatchy President’s Award for his reporting and column writing over the last two years.