The race between Democratic Congressman TJ Cox and Republican David Valadao is expected to be a tight one. Two years ago, incumbent Valadao narrowly lost to Cox by less than 1,000 votes. Now the two men are vying for the seat again, and are responding to controversial campaign ads.
Congressman TJ Cox, coming under fire as of late, by ads released by his November challenger, former representative David Valadao. The ads claiming Cox, who was elected in 2018, did not pay $145,000 dollars in taxes and used his office to hide it from voters.
"A person who’s making $174,000 from a taxpayer-paid salary who doesn't pay over $100,000 in taxes is not living up to their end of the bargain,” said Rober Jones, general consultant, Valado campaign.
But Cox’s camp says Cox does not owe any taxes, and the claims made are false. They tell 23ABC the tax liens referred to in the ads are no longer valid and have been paid and the liens were released. They also say much of Congressman Cox’s tax debt was assigned in error.
"At this point, the Central Valley is very familiar with Republican David Valadao's decade-long pattern of deceit. First David Valadao lied about working with Barack Obama, and now his Washington buddies are pouring millions into ads lying about TJ's record," said Cox campaign manager Amanda Sands.
Sands is talking about a pro-Valadao ad that says Valadao worked with President Obama to bring water to the Central Valley.
Obama spokesperson Katie Hill saying this week “we strongly condemn David Valadao for resorting to distortion to falsely suggest President Obama’s support – especially given that President Obama has endorsed his opponent, TJ Cox.”
“David worked with President Obama on the Water Bill, and President Obama is supporting TJ Cox, and that’s fine,” Jones said.
And some ads in support of Representative Cox have taken aim at Valadao too. The ads claiming that while Valadao was in congress, he worked with President Trump to give large tax breaks to drug companies, while letting them raise prices. The Valadao campaign says they won’t respond to the ad, because it has no citations for its claims.
The race for the 21st District is expected to be one of the largest local races this November. Election day is 60 days away.