Former Congressman David Valadao (R–Hanford) announced he’s seeking a rematch with his successor, Rep. TJ Cox (D–Fresno), on Wednesday.
Valadao’s long-awaited announcement comes weeks after he filed a statement of candidacy with the Federal Elections Commission to run for the 21st Congressional seat in 2020.
“The Central Valley needs a strong voice they can trust representing them in Congress – someone who listens and understands that Central Valley residents just want an opportunity to provide and build a better life for their families,” Valadao said in a statement. “That’s why I’m running to represent California’s 21st District.”
Cox’s first year in office has largely been marked by rocky questions of his business dealings and ethics inquiries, while his votes have lined up with initiatives crafted by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D–San Francisco).
“I cannot continue to sit silent while TJ Cox pursues a radical liberal agenda that hurts our communities. The Central Valley needs a full-time representative that people can be proud of and trust.”
In his statement, Valadao laid out his priorities as delivering greater water supply to the Valley, improving health care affordability, and improving job opportunities and vocational training.
Valadao held the seat for three terms – from 2013 through 2019. In 2018, he was defeated by Cox by a razor-thin margin of 862 votes.
The Cook Political Report and Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball both currently rate California’s 21st Congressional District as “Lean Democratic.”
However, an internal GOP poll from June found that Cox trailed a “potential Republican challenger” by a 16-point margin, or a 52 percent to 36 percent split.
A Republican source told McClatchyDC that the potential challenger was Valadao.
The 21st Congressional District encompasses all of Kings County, vast portions of Fresno and Kern counties, and a sliver of Tulare County.
Disclaimer: I previously worked for Valadao during his prior tenure in the House