Democrat TJ Cox has slipped past Republican incumbent David Valadao to take the lead in the country’s sole remaining undecided congressional race, positioning Democrats to pick up their seventh House seat in California and 40th nationwide.
Cox, who trailed by nearly 4,400 votes on election night, has steadily gained as ballot counting continues nearly three weeks after the Nov. 6 election, a pattern consistent with the state’s recent voting history.
On Monday, he pulled ahead by 438 votes after Kern County updated its results.
The mostly rural 21st Congressional District, which Cox and Valadao are vying to represent, takes in portions of Fresno, Kern, Kings and Tulare counties. Several thousand ballots remain to be counted before the state’s Dec. 7 deadline for county election officials to certify their results
A Cox victory would give Democrats a sweep of the California districts they targeted this election and expand the party’s biggest gain nationally since the Watergate era — more than enough to take control of the House in January.
A loss by Valadao, a three-term incumbent and perennial Democratic target, would also mark yet another significant setback for a Republican Party struggling to keep a meaningful toehold in a state the GOP dominated for much of its history. It would give Democrats 46 of California’s 53 House seats — leaving Republicans with their smallest share of the state’s delegation in well over half a century.
In a further blow to the party nationally, two-term Rep. Mia Love of Utah — once seen as rising Republican star — conceded defeat Monday to Democratic Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams after a prolonged vote count.
Love, who was taunted by President Trump in a postelection news conference, returned the animus Monday.
The day after the election, when the outcome of the race was still very much in doubt, Trump had declared Love the loser and had blamed her for keeping him at arms’ length. “Mia Love gave me no love and she lost,” Trump said then. “Too bad. Sorry about that, Mia.”
Trump’s derisive comment, Love told reporters in Salt Lake City as she conceded, “gave me a clear vision of his world as it is: No real relationships, just convenient transactions.”
Love’s concession left the Valadao-Cox race as the only contest still unresolved.
Attribution:Los Angeles Times