Local Election

Cox closes to within 1,000 votes of Valadao with Kern County update

Rep. David Valadao, left, a Hanford Republican, and Fresno Democrat TJ Cox are running in California’s Congressional District 21 November election race.
Rep. David Valadao, left, a Hanford Republican, and Fresno Democrat TJ Cox are running in California’s Congressional District 21 November election race.

Fresno Democrat TJ Cox is less than 1,000 votes behind incumbent David Valadao, the Hanford Republican, in their race to represent California’s 21st Congressional District.

Although weekend updates from Kings and Tulare counties pushed Valadao’s lead to 2,178 votes, new numbers out of Kern County on Monday boosted Cox by 1,248 votes. He is now just 930 votes behind.

The 21st District, which includes parts of Kern, Fresno and Tulare counties and all of Kings County, was targeted by Democrats given the party’s heavy registration advantage (plus-16 percentage points) and its distaste for President Donald Trump (plus-16 for Hillary Clinton in 2016).

It is among the last of the “flippable” House districts for Democrats, who took control of the House and many of the last Republican-held seats in California in this month’s election.

Kern County elections officials did not have an updated count of just how many of its more than 22,000 outstanding ballots were included in Monday’s update. The next update will be Nov. 26.

Election forecaster FiveThirtyEight predicted about half of Kern County’s remaining ballots were counted in Monday’s update. It estimated that about 11,000 uncounted ballots remain in the 21st: 4,900 from Fresno County, 2,800 from Kern, 2,900 from Kings and 800 from Tulare. If the trends continue, the final margin could be within 100 votes, FiveThirtyEight said.

Kings County has leaned heavily toward Valadao, while Kern favors Cox by a similar margin. Valadao was winning Tulare County by about 9 percentage points and Fresno County by about 3 percentage points in the most recent totals.

Fresno County has 30,000 total uncounted ballots. Kings has about 2,300, and Tulare has a little over 18,000.

Brandi Orth, Fresno County Clerk, explains what comes next in the aftermath of Tuesday’s election, including the lengthy processing of ballots from the Fresno County’s 419 voting precincts, including mail-in ballots.

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