A Fresno County election update posted Friday has kept Fresno Democrat TJ Cox within striking distance of Rep. David Valadao, R-Hanford, in their race for California’s 21st District congressional seat.
Valadao had 49,707 votes to Cox’s 47,724 – an advantage of 1,983 votes, or a little more than 2 percentage points.
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Valadao had bolstered his lead to 2,242 Thursday with slight updates from Tulare and Kings counties, but the latest Fresno County numbers indicate a tight finish.
Elections forecaster Nate Silver, of FiveThirtyEight, noted Friday that the 1,371 ballots counted in Fresno County’s portion of the 21st District favored Cox by 19 percentage points. As such, his website has changed the race from “Lean Republican” to “Tossup.”
Fresno and Kern counties will likely be key.
Fresno County got through about 9,000 of its remaining ballots. There are 30,000 left. The next update will be Wednesday.
Kern County has more than 22,000 outstanding ballots and has not updated its numbers since Sunday night. It’s unclear when the next update will occur. Cox is pulling about 60 percent of Kern County votes up to this point.
Only a portion of the Kern total is likely to come from the 21st District, but there are definitely enough ballots out there for Cox to make up the difference.
Valadao’s home county, Kings, still has about 4,000 ballots left to be counted. All of these will be in the 21st, and the county leans hard in Valadao’s direction. The final ballots will likely increase Valadao’s lead.
Tulare County has about 25,000 ballots left, but only a small portion of those will likely be from the 21st.
The race was called in Valadao’s favor on election night. However, like many California races, the late returns have heavily favored the Democrat.
The 21st is among the last Republican seats targeted by Democrats that has not yet flipped. Should Valadao lose, the Democrats could claim a near-total victory in the state’s congressional races.
Other election updates
▪ Democrat Andrew Janz remained about 8 percentage points behind Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Tulare.
▪ Rep. Jim Costa, D-Fresno, increased his lead over Republican Elizabeth Heng, who is more than 13 points down.
▪ Fresno’s park measure saw a slight boost up to 51 percent “yes” votes, but it is still well short of the 66 percent needed.
▪ Sally Moreno has a 13-point lead over Paul Hornick in the Madera County District Attorney race.
▪ Incumbent Luis Chavez plus newcomers Miguel Arias and Nelson Esparza hold massive leads in the Fresno City Council races.
▪ All of the Fresno County school bonds appear likely to pass, but it could be close in the Pine Ridge Elementary School District. The bond leads by 70 votes and sits at 56.85 percent “yes.” The bond requires 55 percent approval to pass.
▪ In Tulare County, two candidates for the Porterville-based Burton Elementary School District Board of Trustees are just one vote apart. Andrew Chandler leads Vikki Cervantes 281-280 in Area 5. There was also one write-in vote.
▪ In Dinuba, City Councilwoman Maribel Reynosa leads challenger Victorio Rojas by just 11 votes, 165-154.
▪ There is currently a tie for the final of three spots on the Farmersville City Council. Mayor Paul Boyer and Mayor Pro Tem Matt Sisk are currently tied for third with 376 votes each. Tina Hernandez is in second with 379 votes.
▪ Lemoore Mayor Ray Madrigal appears to have been defeated. He trails Stuart Lyons 435-616.
▪ Hanford Mayor David Ayers may also lose. John Draxler leads 1,535 to Ayers’ 1,381.
▪ Two Madera City Councilmen, Charles Rigby and Will Oliver, are down by 20 and 14 percentage points, respectively, in their re-election bids.