Fowler Democrat Daniel T. Parra on Monday officially said he will seek to oust incumbent Hanford Republican David Valadao from the 21st Congressional District seat.
Parra, Fowler’s mayor pro-tem, has been considering a 21st District run for the past month or so. He will be the third Democrat to try and take out Valadao. The first two — John Hernandez in 2012 and Amanda Renteria last year — failed badly.
Parra’s statement gave a clue to the direction of his campaign.
“The relentless gridlock, continuous obstructionism, and lack of deliverables in Washington are a direct result of out-of-touch extremists Republicans in Congress like David Valadao,” the statement said. “He has failed Central Valley families time and again.”
But the key to winning for Parra, 49, will likely be getting Democrats in the district to actually vote, something both Hernandez and Renteria were unable to do. Democrats currently hold a 16-percentage-point voter registration advantage in the district, which covers all of Kings and parts of Kern, Tulare and Fresno counties.
Democrats continue to feel Valadao is beatable, especially next year, when they predict turnout will be boosted by the presidential election.
Valadao’s campaign wasted no time getting in a dig at Parra.
“We know very little about our most recent opponent, outside of his support of California’s unpopular High Speed Rail project,” campaign spokesman Tal Eslick said in a statement. “Regardless of which out of touch candidate Washington liberals choose, David will continue to represent the values and issues most important to his Central Valley constituents.”
Based on the registration alone, political experts say as long as a Republican holds the seat, it will always be considered competitive. Knowing this, Valadao has already been named to the National Republican Congressional Committee’s Patriot Program, which helps Republicans who may be vulnerable.
One thing Parra will have do if he wants to take out Valadao is raise more money than he did in his unsuccessful Fresno County Supervisor bid last year. In that race, Parra raised less than $120,000. Buddy Mendes, the winner, raised more than $500,000.
Last month, Parra said he wanted financial backing from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee if he got into the race.
Because Parra is running, he’ll have to pass on a Fowler City Council reelection bid. His council seat is up for election next year.