BY ANGELINA MARTIN
Democratic Congressional hopeful TJ Cox has had his eyes set on District 10 Republican incumbent Jeff Denham’s seat since he announced his candidacy last summer, but on March 6 the Central Valley businessman revealed he will instead be running for Congress in the 21st District.
Bakersfield attorney Emilio Huerta dropped out of the District 21 race over the weekend, and had been the only Democrat running against Republican incumbent David Valadao. Huerta’s departure left the race wide open, and Cox has decided to step in, saying it “wasn’t an easy decision.” He said in a statement that his goals remain the same as they were for District 10: protect health care, immigrants and Social Security.
“My decision to move our campaign back to this district is about the thousands of Californians in the Central Valley – from Tranquility to Arvin – that stand to lose health care under the status quo,” said Cox.
“That’s where we’re headed under Donald Trump and his ‘yes-man’ and my opponent – David Valadao. Right now, a Democrat is well positioned to defeat Jeff Denham in CA-10. But in CA-21 – where I have deep roots – I refuse to let David Valadao off without a fight for betraying our community by voting with Trump 98.5 percent of the time in Congress.”
Cox was a popular candidate in the District 10 race, earning endorsements from groups like the CA10 Coalition and the Patterson Progressive Alliance.
“TJ earned the support of our group and several other groups throughout the 10th for his progressive values and genuine character,” said PPA in a statement, adding that they have not yet selected another candidate to endorse. “Our support for TJ stands, and we wish him well in his new race…”
Cox is no stranger to Congressional races. He ran for Congress in 2006 in what was then known as the 19th District, encompassing Turlock and the eastern half of Stanislaus County, and lost to Congressman George Radanovich, who Denham replaced in 2011.
Cox doesn’t live in the 10th or 21st District – he resides in Fresno. By federal law, he does not have to live in the district to run for Congress.
With Cox’s departure, the candidates left that are challenging Denham include Democrats Josh Harder, Michael Eggman, Mike Barkley, Sue Zwahlen, Virginia Madueno, Dotty Nygard and Independent Scott Shoblom.