HANFORD — Following election results from Fresno, Kings, Kern and Tulare counties, Rep. David Valadao (R-Hanford) declared victory over Democrat challenger TJ Cox in the race for California’s 21st Congressional District.
“The Central Valley has always been and will always be my home and I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to continue serving the place I love,” Valadao said in a released statement from St. John’s Hall in Hanford, where he was joined by his family and supporters at an Election Night event.
This will be Valadao’s fourth term in Congress after first being elected in 2012.
Valadao, a dairyman from Hanford, overwhelmingly won in Kings County, with 65.1 percent of the 18,703 total votes.
In the entire district, which includes Kings County and portions of Fresno, Tulare and Kern counties, he has received 53.7 percent (35,416 votes) of the 65,993 total votes at press time.
Cox, an engineer and entrepreneur from Fresno, has garnered 46.3 percent (30,577) of the overall votes.
"I'm proud of the campaign that we ran, and our message of working for the people to deliver health care, jobs and opportunity,” Cox said Wednesday in a statement to The Sentinel. “There are still many votes to be counted and it's important that everyone has the chance to have their voice heard.”
Valadao said the race was bigger than an individual candidate or political party and was about the families and individuals who make the Central Valley an amazing place.
“Representing the Central Valley in Congress has truly been the honor of a lifetime,” Valdao said. “Just this Congress we have reduced taxes for middle class families, made huge strides in our battle for water, and given our troops the support and care they deserve.”
Despite the achievements, Valadao said he and community members must remain deliberate in their efforts to improve the community.
“There is always work to be done and with the help of my neighbors, I will head back to Congress to improve our education system, increase our water supply, and ensure our Valley can continue to grow and thrive,” he said.
When he gets back to the U.S. House of Representatives, Valadao said he’ll try to get a “lay of the land” and meet the new members and then start working on issues like water as soon as possible.