Local Election

Cox now leading Valadao in 21st Congressional District race after Kern County update

Fresno Democrat TJ Cox has overtaken incumbent David Valadao in their race for California’s 21st Congressional District seat.

Cox now holds a 436-vote over the Hanford Republican – 55,672 votes to 55,236. This is Cox’s first lead in the race.

The 21st is the last contested Congressional race in the country.

Kern County processed about 8,000 uncounted ballots – nearly 1,900 of which were in the 21st – in Monday’s update. A little under 3,000 ballots remain in Kern, where Cox has secured 61 percent of the vote to date.

Cox had closed his losing margin to 447 votes last week. Valadao led by about 5,000 on election night three weeks ago.

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The lead is far from set in stone, as Valadao-favoring Kings County and Fresno County – which has broken almost dead even – have thousands of outstanding ballots to be counted in the next few days.

But it appears Cox is on his way to delivering Democrats their 40th flipped seat – one that analysts and news media called for Valadao on election night.

Kings County has 1,577 uncounted ballots remaining. An elections official said Monday that the next update would come around 4:30 p.m. Tuesday. (UPDATE: Kings County did not update its totals Tuesday.) Valadao has done well in his home area, pulling in about 63 percent of the vote.

However, his margin of victory in Kings, all of which falls in the 21st, has actually decreased in recent updates. He was previously pulling in two-thirds of the vote.

If those numbers hold, Valadao would likely pick up around 300 votes in Kings – leaving a Cox lead of around 140.

Fresno County has 15,200 ballots left to count. It will update again on Wednesday.

Tulare County has a little less than 8,000 ballots to count, but only a small portion of these are likely to fall in the 21st.

The election must be certified by Dec. 7.