Valadao refuses to respond to challenger's debate plan. Cox compromises, will attend one

Democratic TJ Cox, in a faceoff with the incumbent in the 21st Congressional District, David Valadao, has committed to attending what his campaign is referring to as a closed-door studio debate on October 25 in Bakersfield, an election matchup hosted by Fresno’s KSEE 24 and Bakersfield’s KGET.

The Cox compromise comes on the heels of his proposal for at least three public debates. He would have settled for two, including a forum in Lemoore, proposed for West Hills Community College Lemoore, but Valadao's campaign never responded.

Despite Valadao’s reluctance to attend a public forum, Cox plans to have one regardless. Cox says he will hold a public gathering so that voters can hear from the candidates. He will schedule it during a congressional break so that Valadao has the opportunity to attend.

“Our hard-working families deserve to hear directly from the people asking for their vote,” said Cox. “The Valley faces many challenges, and people want to talk about how their elected representatives are going to deliver for our communities.”

For the most part, the Republican response has been mostly silent. Valadao did not accept or respond to the Cox proposal. The Leader, twice, has attempted to contact the Valadao campaign, both times leaving a message. So far there has been no response.

Cox spokesperson Philip Vander Klay confirmed Valadao’s silence. “We never heard from him, and I know other reporters have reached out asking to coordinate some sort of debate/forum and have not heard anything either,” he stated.

The Hanford Republican has not held a town hall meeting during the last two years. His most recent effort to connect with voters was in March of 2017 when he hosted what he referred to as his “Hometown Huddle,” where on March 6, 2017, he met with constituents on a first-come, first serve basis. Each voter got 10 minutes of the congressman’s time.


Originally published at The Leader on September 18, 2018.