Elections

Nut processor announces bid for Denham’s seat in 2018, with jab about ties to Trump

Fresno Democrat TJ Cox recently defeated incumbent David Valadao, R-Hanford, in the race for California’s 21st Congressional District seat.
Fresno Democrat TJ Cox recently defeated incumbent David Valadao, R-Hanford, in the race for California’s 21st Congressional District seat. Cox Campaign

Democrat T.J. Cox, an engineer and nut processor, announced Thursday that he will challenge Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Turlock, in the 2018 election.

Cox is the eighth challenger in the 10th Congressional District, which takes in Stanislaus and southern San Joaquin counties. He has been living in Fresno but moved to Modesto last month, spokesman Francois Genard said.

Cox, 53, said he would emphasize job creation, health care, the environment, civil rights and other key issues. Democrats have a slight registration edge in the district, which drew national attention during the 2016 race between Denham and Michael Eggman.

“I’m running because Donald Trump and Jeff Denham are endangering the great American ideal, that everyone in this country should get a fair shot at success if they work hard, no matter where they come from,” Cox said in a news release.

He ran unsuccessfully in 2006 for a House seat held by then-Rep. George Radanovich.

Cox owns an organic nut plant in Madera and founded the Central Valley NMTC Fund, which invests in health care, education and other needs for low-income people in the region. He said he has invested more than $65 million in projects that created more than 1,500 jobs.

The other declared challengers are independent Terra Snover and Democrats Mike Barkley, Lisa Battista, Mateo Morelos Bedolla, Josh Harder, Dotty Nygard and Seth Vaughn.

The top two in the June 2018 primary, regardless of party, will face off in November.

John Holland: 209-578-2385

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