In CA primaries, Filipino candidates look to flip congressional districts
HANFORD, CA — It’s the exact halfway point between San Francisco and Los Angeles — Hanford, found in California’s 21st congressional district.
From now until November, all eyes will be on this farming region.
Since 1981, the district has been represented by Republicans — but this year, Democrats are hoping a Filipino American can flip it from red to blue.
Tj Cox, the son of Asian immigrants, is looking to unseat David Valadao who’s held the seat since 2012.
His mother, Perla Decastro was born in the Philippines, while his father Kenneth was a scientist and chemical engineer from China.
This is the engineer and agricultural entrepreneur’s first crack at public office.
Valadao is the son of Portuguese immigrants who started a dairy farm in the 1970s. He’s now on his third term in the US House of Representatives.
The district covers the vast farmlands of California’s San Joaquin Valley — including Fresno, Kern, Kings and Tulare counties.
Over 70 percent of the population is Hispanic, about 19 percent white, and Asians make up a little more than 3 percent of the population.
Some of the key issues in this region that lawmakers are expected to address include water, farming, and immigration.
There’s also a familiar Filipino name in Los Angeles trying to switch one seat from blue to red.
Businessman Edwin Duterte, believed to be a distant relative of Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte, is on the ballot for California’s 43rd district, which covers LA’s Silicon Beach and the South Bay.
He’s looking to unseat Maxine Waters, who represented the district the past 27 years.
Under California’s top two primary system, the two leading vote-getters will run off in the November election.
Duterte is among a pool of 5 candidates, while the 21st district only has two candidates, who will face off again regardless of Tuesday’s outcome.