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RESULTS: Incumbent Democrat TJ Cox and David Valadao square up for a rematch in California’s 21st Congressional District

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Democratic Rep. TJ Cox and Republican David Valadao are set for a rematch in California’s 21st Congressional District as Valadao looks to reclaim the House seat he once held for three terms. In 2018, Cox defeated Valadao by only 862 votes, a margin of 0.8 percentage points, in a tightly contested race.

The candidates

Rep. TJ Cox is a California native campaigning for reelection on a platform of immigration policy reform, supporting schools, and healthcare for all, and has consistently hammered Valadao on his vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Previously an engineer working on water conveyance systems and dams, Cox has introduced multiple bills and passed one item of legislation to increase the quality of central California’s drinking water and river restoration infrastructure.

Valadao, a former member of the California State Assembly and farmer, has been in politics for most of his life. The son of Portuguese immigrants, Valadao noted that he could not support then-candidate Donald Trump’s campaign for the presidency in 2016. But after President Trump was elected, Valadao voted in line with the president 97.9% of the time according to FiveThirtyEight, and is supporting Trump in 2020.

Cox has faced some scrutiny and controversy in his short tenure in Congress for owing over $140,000 in unpaid federal taxes, and owing tens of thousands of back wages to workers, initially failing to disclose some of his financial holdings, and, as the Fresno Bee reported, listing two separate primary residences in Maryland and California for tax purposes, which Cox explained as an “honest mistake” and subsequently fixed. He eventually did pay back employee back wages.

The Bee has now endorsed Valadao over Cox in the race, writing: “While Cox has sponsored or cosponsored useful legislation in his first term, the financial revelations raise questions about Cox’s credibility. Voters should retire Cox and bring back Valadao, who is once again seeking the seat.”

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The district

Located in the south-central region of California, the state’s 21st Congressional District comprises Kings County and portions of Tulare, Kern, and Fresno counties. A little over 70% of the district is Hispanic and has a median household income of $37,228, according to the 2010 US Census.

The district backed President Barack Obama by 11 points in 2012 and voted for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton by a margin of over 15 points in 2016, according to the Daily Kos.

The money race

According to campaign finance filings, the incumbent, Cox, has raised $5.1 million, spent $4.6 million, and has around $535,000 in cash on hand. His opponent, Valadao, raised $3.7 million in the same period of time, spent $2.9 million, and has around $931,600 on hand.

In 2018, Cox defeated Valadao by only 862 votes, a margin of 0.8 percentage points, in a tightly contested race.

California Election Results: 21st Congressional District

Updated Nov. 25, 2020, 11:39 PM ET

California Election Results: 21st Congressional District

Don’t expect to see David Valadao invoking the president as he wages a tough, personal campaign to win back the Central Valley House seat he narrowly lost in 2018 to T.J. Cox, the Democratic candidate. Instead, Mr. Valadao has been portraying himself as a moderate Republican who can bridge partisan divides, while Mr. Cox has countered with a campaign tying his challenger to President Trump.

Nearly all of the estimated vote total has been reported.

Timing of results: All active registered voters were sent mail ballots, and late-arriving mail ballots and provisional ballots will be counted in the days and weeks after the election.

Results by county

Note: Absentee vote data may not be available in some places.

Absentee votes by candidate

Some states and counties will report candidate vote totals for mail-in ballots, but some places may not report comprehensive vote type data.

Candidate Absentee/early votes Votes Pct.
Cox 48,601 50.3 %
Valadao 48,048 49.7 %
Total reported 96,649

100% of counties (4 of 4) have reported absentee votes. Data for absentee votes may not be available in some places.

Latest updates

Michael D. Shear, in Washington Nov. 23, 2020

President Trump authorized his government to begin the transition to President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s administration. Read more ›

Read our analysis of the vote

Latest updates

Michael D. Shear, in Washington Nov. 23, 2020

President Trump authorized his government to begin the transition to President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s administration. Read more ›

Kathleen Gray, in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. Nov. 23, 2020

Michigan’s top elections board voted to certify the election results, a blow to President Trump, who had been trying to subvert Joe Biden’s win there. Read more ›

Richard Fausset, in Atlanta Nov. 20, 2020

Georgia’s secretary of state has certified President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory in the state, dealing a blow to President Trump’s bid to overturn the election. Read more ›

Richard Fausset, in Atlanta Nov. 19, 2020

President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory in Georgia was reaffirmed after the state finished its recount of nearly five million ballots with few meaningful vote changes. Read more ›

Stephanie Saul, in New York Nov. 13, 2020

Biden is the first Democratic presidential candidate to carry Georgia since Bill Clinton in 1992. Even as a recount begins in the state, Biden leads by more than 14,000 votes. See Georgia results ›

Matt Stevens, in New York Nov. 13, 2020

Trump’s narrow victory in North Carolina does not affect the overall outcome of the race, which Biden won Saturday after crossing the threshold of 270 Electoral College votes. See North Carolina results ›

Nate Cohn, in New York Nov. 13, 2020

It’s final: Joe Biden wins 306 electoral votes, Donald Trump wins 232. Biden wins Georgia. Trump wins North Carolina. Read more ›

Jennifer Medina Nov. 12, 2020

For the first time in decades, Arizona has voted for a Democrat for president. Bill Clinton won the state in 1996, and he had been the only Democrat to do so since Truman. Read more ›

Nate Cohn, in New York Nov. 12, 2020

The races in Arizona and Georgia have not been called by several TV networks, but they’re essentially over. Here’s why ›

Nicholas Fandos Nov. 11, 2020

Senator Thom Tillis of North Carolina capitalized on unexpected Republican strength in a crucial swing state to defeat a Democrat damaged by revelations of an extramarital affair. Read more ›

Maggie Astor, in New York Nov. 11, 2020

Biden’s popular vote lead has surpassed five million, putting him 3.4 percentage points ahead of Trump. This is significantly larger than Hillary Clinton’s 2.9 million, 2.1-point margin in 2016.

Glenn Thrush, in Washington Nov. 11, 2020

Georgia will conduct a hand recount, a move requested by the Trump campaign. State officials have said it is unlikely to erase Biden’s narrow but significant lead there. Read more ›

Carl Hulse, in Washington Nov. 11, 2020

Senator Dan Sullivan’s victory in Alaska moves Republicans closer to holding the Senate. Two Georgia runoffs will decide Senate control. Read more ›

Source: Election results from National Election Pool/Edison Research

By Michael Andre, Aliza Aufrichtig, Gray Beltran, Matthew Bloch, Larry Buchanan, Andrew Chavez, Nate Cohn, Matthew Conlen, Annie Daniel, Asmaa Elkeurti, Andrew Fischer, Josh Holder, Will Houp, Jonathan Huang, Josh Katz, Aaron Krolik, Jasmine C. Lee, Rebecca Lieberman, Ilana Marcus, Jaymin Patel, Charlie Smart, Ben Smithgall, Umi Syam, Rumsey Taylor, Miles Watkins and Isaac White

Additional data collection by Alice Park, Rachel Shorey, Thu Trinh and Quoctrung Bui

Candidate photo research and production by Earl Wilson, Alana Celii, Lalena Fisher, Yuriria Avila, Amanda Cordero, Laura Kaltman, Andrew Rodriguez, Alex Garces, Chris Kahley, Andy Chen, Chris O’Brien, Jim DeMaria, Dave Braun and Jessica White

See full results and maps from the California election.