With only a few days left before the campaign filing deadline, Fresno businessman TJ Cox announced Tuesday he will challenge Rep. David Valadao, R-Hanford, for his seat in Congress.
Cox, a Democrat who had moved to Modesto to challenge Turlock Republican Jeff Denham in the 10th District, will move back to Fresno to campaign against Valadao in the 21st District. Rumors of Cox's campaign switch emerged over the weekend.
The new challenger fills the void left by Bakersfield attorney Emilio Huerta, who dropped out of the race over the weekend. Huerta lost to Valadao in 2016 by a double-digit margin.
Cox is the president of a community development entity that awards federal new market tax credits to small businesses and nonprofits in economically disadvantaged communities. According to Cox, he's raised and invested more than $65 million and created more than 1,500 jobs in the Central Valley since 2011.
In his news release, Cox attacked Valadao's voting record on tax reform and healthcare.
"While my team and I were working in the neighborhoods that Wall Street wouldn’t touch, David Valadao and his Washington friends were fighting to slash taxes for the richest corporations and rip away health care from thousands of Central Valley families," Cox said.
This won't be Cox's first House campaign. In 2006, incumbent Republican George Radanovich soundly defeated Cox in the 19th District.