Valadao Moves On; 2nd place Too Close to Call

The Hanford Sentinel
Valadao Moves On; 2nd place Too Close to Call

Rep. David Valadao, R-Hanford, will face either Emilio Huerta or Daniel Parra in the general election in November in the 21st Congressional District race.

With all precincts reporting Wednesday morning, Valadao had a commanding lead with 28,722 votes, or 58.2 percent.

Democratic challengers Huerta and Parra, meanwhile, were neck-and-neck.

Parra led with 10,583 votes, or 21.4 percent. Huerta had 10,116 votes, or 20.4 percent.

Some provisional and mail-in ballots remain to be counted.

The top-two vote-getters move on to November.

“It always affects you when people trust you and vote for you,” Valadao said. “It’s an honor.”

Valadao said he “takes nothing for granted” when it comes to the general election in November.

Meanwhile, Huerta clung to the hope that he can still make up the 467-vote deficit separating him from Parra.

“There are a lot of absentee ballots that were mailed in late,” he said. “There are a lot of provisional ballots that need to be counted. We’re still hopeful.”

The majority of the voters in the district are in Fresno and Kern counties.

“A lot depends on where the uncounted ballots are,” Parra said. “We’re basically down to Kern and Fresno counties. [Huerta] is going to have to make up a big margin.”

Valadao has enjoyed a large fundraising edge over both Democrats.

Parra has been in the contest since April 2015. He racked up a lot of local endorsements, but raised little campaign money.

Huerta, a Bakersfield attorney who is the son of United Farm Workers co-founder Dolores Huerta, entered the race late in January 2016. He quickly surpassed Parra’s fundraising totals.

As of May 18 — the last report issued by the Federal Election Commission — Huerta had $54,420 in cash-on-hand compared to $3,835 for Parra.

Valadao had $1.15 million in cash-on-hand.