TJ Cox abandons 2022 rematch with Valadao, throws support behind Salas

As has been expected for some time, former Democrat Congressman T.J. Cox will not run against Rep. David Valadao (R–Hanford) for the third-straight election.

Instead, Cox has thrown his support behind one of Valadao’s challengers with an endorsement of Asm. Rudy Salas (D–Bakersfield), according to a report from the National Journal.

Last month, Salas announced his candidacy to take on Valadao in next year’s midterms, although the actual district he will run for will not be clear until the California Redistricting Commission finalizes the new Congressional district map in December. 

Cox initially ousted Valadao in 2018 by less than 1,000 votes in a decision that lasted weeks after election day as ballots continued to come in. 

But Valadao won the seat back by a 1,500 vote margin in 2020, even though President Joe Biden won the district by double digits. 

Cox’s endorsement of Salas, however, did not come as welcome news for Delano Mayor Bryan Osorio, who has also entered the race as a Democrat. 

Osorio took to Twitter to lament that Cox, who was seen favorably by environmental groups, would support Salas, someone who has been targeted by progressives for not supporting the same environmental policies. 

Daniel Gligich is a reporter for The San Joaquin Valley Sun, focusing on Fresno State Athletics and the southern San Joaquin Valley. Email him at daniel.gligich@sjvsun.com.