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21st District: Rep. David Valadao and TJ Cox

California’s 21st Congressional District is somewhat anomalous: It’s represented by a Republican even though Democrats have a 16-percentage-point voter registration advantage and nominee Hillary Clinton won the district by more than 15 percentage points in the 2016 presidential election.

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Rep. David Valadao of Hanford has won his previous three elections with more than 55% of the vote, and the nonpartisan handicapper Cook Political Report has the district in the “likely Republican” column.

That hasn’t prevented Democratic challenger TJ Cox from pushing Valadao on his voting record and what Cox calls inaction on local issues. An engineer by training, Cox ran into some trouble when a tax form showing primary residency in Maryland surfaced. He later explained the house was purchased as a temporary home for his wife, an intensive care physician who was studying at Johns Hopkins University.

David Valadao
Rep. David Valadao, right, leaving a meeting of House Republicans at the Capitol in October. (Bill Clark / CQ Roll Call)
TJ Cox
Undated handout photo of TJ Cox, who is a 2018 Democratic candidate seeking election to the U.S. House to represent the 21st Congressional District of California. (TJ Cox)
Republican Rep. David Valadao (R-Hanford), left, and Democratic challenger TJ Cox. (Bill Clark / CQ Roll Call; TJ Cox)

Immigration

Valadao

  • Supports a path to legal status for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients and in 2017 co-sponsored two bills that offered such a path.
  • Came out against family separations at the border, then two days later sent a survey to constituents, asking: "In your opinion, should those who attempt to illegally enter the U.S. be criminally prosecuted and, as a result, be separated from their children?"
  • One of two dozen House Republicans who signed a petition to force the House to vote on four bipartisan immigration bills.

Cox

  • Supports a path to citizenship and protections for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients.
  • Opposes family separation policy and condemned Valadao's survey, saying on Twitter: "As a son of immigrants, here's what I know: You don’t need a survey to tell you that ripping kids away from their families is immoral."
  • “Everyone knows what [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] should be doing: Not targeting hardworking farmworkers that are making a living. They should be going after the criminals and the people that really have bad intent," he told the Mercury News.
A man holds his daughter's hand after picking her and his wife up at an air base in Guatemala City on July 10, after they were deported from the United States.
A man holds his daughter's hand after picking her and his wife up at an air base in Guatemala City on July 10, after they were deported from the United States. (Orlando Estrada / AFP/Getty Images)

Taxes

    Valadao

  • Voted for the 2017 Republican tax bill.
  • “Since implementation of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act earlier this year, Americans have been able to keep more of their hard-earned money and employers have been able to expand their businesses and hire even more workers," Valadao wrote on his House website.

    Cox

  • “Instead of offering subsidies or tax credits to provide employees with healthcare, job training or cutting payroll taxes (the largest tax American households pay), the bill focused on one thing — delivering a massive tax cut for the super-wealthy and corporations." Cox wrote in the Modesto Bee.

Proposition 6

Valadao has donated to the efforts to repeal the recent gas tax increase. Cox hasn't publicly stated a position and his campaign did not respond to requests to provide one.

Covered California is the state's state health insurance exchange under the Affordable Care Act. Rep. David Valadao (R-Hanford) voted to repeal the healthcare act.
Covered California is the state's state health insurance exchange under the Affordable Care Act. Rep. David Valadao (R-Hanford) voted to repeal the healthcare act. (Associated Press)

Healthcare

Valadao

  • Voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
  • He says on his website that Medicaid should be changed, but that he wants to leaves benefits unchanged for current beneficiaries and those nearing retirement. He does not specify what changes in benefits he proposes.
  • Voted for a version of the House's fiscal year 2015 budget that rolled back the Medicaid expansion that happened under Obamacare. (It passed the House but didn't advance out of the Senate.)

Cox

  • In 2010, founded the Central Valley NMTC Fund, which has funded four health clinics in the Central Valley.
  • "We can start with a Medicaid public buy-in option. Here in the Valley, there’s no greater reflection or driver of inequality than in healthcare. In Congress, I will continue to develop and invest in community clinics, health professional training, and increased access," Cox said in an interview with Bluewave.

President Trump

    Valado

  • “I never talk about Trump. What I talk about and when people talk to me out there in the streets and their homes, what they care about are the kitchen table issues," Valadao told CNN. He previously stated that he couldn't vote for either Trump or Clinton in the 2016 election.

    Cox

  • Criticizes Trump on multiple issues, including family separation, healthcare and increased tariffs.
  • “We need someone who will stand up to Trump's bad policies that hurt Valley families," Cox wrote on his website.
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