Cox, Valadao face off in Round 2 for the Valley's 21st District

Posted at 5:49 PM, Oct 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-22 22:25:32-04

In a race that saw more than 113,000 votes cast just 862 votes separated T.J. Cox and David Valadao in 2018. Now 2020 is just as intense.

"Both have raised millions of dollars and there's a ferocious ad war going on out there," said political analyst Thomas Holyoke.

Both candidates want to clear the air after all the attack ads.

"What's the deal with T.J. Cox? $145,00 owed to the IRS," said one attack ad.

"All my taxes are paid. It's merely a distraction from the other side because they don't have a record to run on," responded Cox.

"It's why we can't go back to David Valadao, who sided with President Trump 99% of the time," argued an ad targeted at Valadao.

"The reality is I voted for whatever I thought was best for the district. If the president was on the same side, that was fine," said Valadao.

Democrats hold a 16% voter registration edge so Fresno State Political Science Professor Thomas Holyoke says Valadao is trying to position himself as a centrist.

"That means one has to move away from President Trump a bit and Valadao can only do that to a degree. He doesn't want to alienate the Republican base, particularly down in Kings County."

While in office as a three-term representative, Valadao voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act. He laid out his priorities if he returns to Congress.

"Making sure we have a clean, reliable water supply for our communities, for our farmers. It's something that we struggle through no matter what. Common sense business policy, good immigration policy."

Cox counters he has made progress on water and immigration issues during his first term.

"Passing the Dream and Promise Act. It's bringing water to the valley," said Cox. "Certainly expanding opportunities for education."

But both candidates couldn't resist getting in one last jab.

"It's obvious that we're running against somebody who has been dishonest throughout a lot of his career," poked Valadao.

"Frankly it's the Donald and David show and people rejected that in 2018 and they're going to reject it again in 2020," jabbed Cox.

Like prizefighters, they're ready for the rematch.

Two years ago TJ Cox declared victory 22 days after Election Night. We may again need a few weeks to count up all the votes to see who wins in the 21st District.