Democrats Complete California Sweep as Valadao Concedes Central Valley Race

TJ Cox unseats three-term congressman in 21st District by 862 votes

Rep. David Valadao, R-Calif., conceded Thursday to his Democratic opponent TJ Cox in California’s 21st District. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

California Republican Rep. David Valadao has conceded his re-election race to Democratic businessman TJ Cox, with the final vote count showing Cox ahead by 862 votes in the Central Valley district. 

Cox’s victory means Democrats have swept all seven GOP-held seats in California that Hillary Clinton carried in 2016. Clinton won the 21st District by more than 15 points two years ago, while Valadao was winning re-election by 13 points. 

Valadao’s concession comes one month after Election Day, and after The Associated Press had initially called the race for the three-term congressman. The AP later retracted its call after Cox moved into the lead as vote-counting continued into November. California allows mail-in ballots to be counted as long as they’re postmarked by Election Day, which draws out the count in the Golden State.

Cox said in a statement Thursday that Valadao phoned him and conceded. 

“I thanked Congressman Valadao and his family for their service to our country and our communities during the past six years,” Cox said. “We will work together to ensure a smooth transition for our constituents. I’m looking forward to getting to work on making a positive difference in the lives of our hard-working families.”

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