Political Notebook

Cox campaign has just two donations from within district, Valadao says. Cox refutes it

Democrat TJ Cox is running against Rep. David Valadao, a Hanford Republican, for the 21st Congressional District seat.
Democrat TJ Cox is running against Rep. David Valadao, a Hanford Republican, for the 21st Congressional District seat.

Who is paying Democrat TJ Cox’s way as he attempts to flip the 21st District?

It’s a question being asked by Rep. David Valadao, who claims his challenger has received just two donations from within the district this year totaling $989, or 0.1 percent of Cox’s total fundraising dollars.

“The vast majority of his contributions have come from the Bay Area, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles/Southern California,” Valadao campaign spokeswoman Anna Vetter said.

Vetter cited as an example Cox receiving $33,117 from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s Bay Area district. This is more than 33 times the amount raised in the 21st District.

Cox campaign manager Francois Genard rejected Valadao’s claims, saying Cox has received nearly 100 small donations from within the district. Because these donations were for less than $200, Genard said, they were not itemized on the campaign’s quarterly financial reports.

“And unlike David Valadao, we don’t get any special interest money from corporate donors,” Genard said.

Vetter said there was no evidence of these small donations, and defended the so-called “corporate money” Valadao received: “Those PACs are funded through contributions from their employees – American workers who choose to donate their hard-earned money to back candidates who support their industries.”

Genard said Valadao’s claims were simply the result of his campaign bemoaning the fact that it was outraised in the last quarter. Cox mined about $700,000 to Valadao’s $525,000, though Valadao’s campaign has raised about $700,000 more than Cox’s overall.

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Valadao has won several elections in a Democratic-leaning district by cementing his image as a hard worker on local issues.

The Democrats have targeted Valadao, seeking to tie him to President Donald Trump and blasting him for yes votes on health care and tax reform bills they say have harmed thousands in his district.

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The Republicans seek to show Cox as an outsider. The Fresno businessman does not live in the 21st District, and switched from the crowded 10th District race to the 21st in March.

Rory Appleton: 559-441-6015, @RoryDoesPhonics
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