Rep. TJ Cox has conceded in the race for the state’s 21st Congressional District, a month after the 2020 general election.
Cox — who made history in 2018 as the first Filipino American from California elected to Congress — conceded to his challenger, Republican David Valadao on Friday, December 4 in a failed reelection bid to continue representing the district, which includes Central Valley areas of Fresno County, Kern County, Kings County, and Tulare County.
“Almost three years ago, I entered the race for California’s 21st District as an underdog. But we out-worked our opponent and pulled off the most stunning upset in Central Valley history,” Cox said in a statement. “Unfortunately, this year due to the coronavirus, we weren’t able to engage in door-to-door personal canvassing and the election results reflected that.”
Valadao, then the incumbent congressman whom Cox narrowly beat in 2018, received 85,298 (50.45%) votes this time around compared to Cox’s 84,406 (49.55%) votes, according to the Nov. 30 vote count from the Kern County Elections Office.
Despite the lack of in-person campaigning during this cycle, Cox said he was “proud of the campaign we’ve run” that did not “engage in gutter politics.”
“We took our message directly to the people, many of whom never knew they could have a strong voice in their federal government. I never forgot that I work for them,” he said.
He urged Valadao to be a “strong advocate” for the Central Valley in the nation’s capital.
“I hope Mr. Valadao goes back to Washington humbled by his 2018 loss and has learned he can’t discount communities like Arvin, Lamont, and Mendota, places that went without visits from their congressional representative for years. I hope he will indeed deliver results for the Central Valley, which desperately needs a strong advocate in Washington,” Cox said.
Prior to his one term in Congress, Cox — who was born in Walnut Creek, California to a Filipina mother and Chinese father — was a licensed engineer and small business owner who developed rural health clinics and community centers in the Central Valley.
Gina Ortiz Jones, a Filipina American U.S. Army veteran, was unsuccessful in her second bid for Texas’ 23rd Congressional District.
Currently, the only member of the U.S. Congress of Filipino descent is Rep. Bobby Scott, a Democrat from Virginia, who sailed to reelection with 67% of the vote. (AJPress)