Terrance John Cox[1] (born July 18, 1963) is an American politician who is the U.S. Representative for California's 21st congressional district. He is a member of the Democratic Party.

TJ Cox
TJ Cox, official portrait, 116th Congress2.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 21st district
Assumed office
January 3, 2019
Preceded byDavid Valadao
Personal details
Terrance John Cox

(1963-07-18) July 18, 1963 (age 57)
Walnut Creek, California, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Kathleen Murphy
EducationUniversity of Nevada, Reno (BS)
Southern Methodist University (MBA)
WebsiteHouse website

Early life and careerEdit

Cox was born in Walnut Creek, California. His father is a chemical engineering professor[2] who immigrated from China, and his mother is from the Philippines.[3] He received a Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering from the University of Nevada, Reno in 1986[4] and a Master of Business Administration from Southern Methodist University.[5] He started two businesses that process nuts[6] and also managed a community development enterprise.[7]

U.S. House of RepresentativesEdit



Cox previously ran for the United States House of Representatives in California's 19th congressional district in the 2006 elections, losing to incumbent George Radanovich.[8] In the 2018 elections, Cox again ran for the United States House of Representatives, this time in California's 21st congressional district.[9] Cox began this congressional bid in 2017, competing in California's 10th district primary race against several other Democratic candidates.

However, Emilio Huerta, the only Democratic challenger in the 21st district, withdrew from the race prior to the filing deadline to appear on the primary election ballot.[10][11] Cox withdrew from the 10th district race to instead run in the 21st district against incumbent Representative David Valadao.[11] He and Valadao advanced from the June 5 top-two primary election to the November 6 general election.[12]

On election night, and for several days after the election, Valadao had more votes, but Cox's vote count pulled into the lead on November 26.[13] By November 28, major news sources called the race for Cox, with Valadao conceding the race the following week. Cox's victory was considered an upset, as most election forecasters rated Valadao as the favorite.[14][15][16][17] Cox won by a narrow 862 vote margin.[18][19]


Cox is running for reelection in 2020, and Valadao will challenge Cox in an attempt to reclaim his former seat.[20] Roque "Rocky" and Ricardo De La Fuente have also filed to run, with Rocky entering the race as a Republican and Ricardo as a Democrat.[21]

Committee assignmentsEdit

Financial controversiesEdit

When Cox made an updated financial disclosure in 2019, it was discovered that he had failed to disclose business interests as a candidate in 2018.[20][23] It was also discovered that Cox failed to timely pay wages owed to three employees of Constellation Mines, a company where Cox was a director until early 2019.[24] These obligations were not disclosed when Cox ran for Congress in 2018.[24]

In March 2020, Cox voted against a bill that would require members of Congress to disclose tax liens.[25] In January 2020, the IRS placed a tax lien on Cox for approximately $87,000 in unpaid income tax for 2016 and approximately $57,000 in unpaid income tax for 2017.[26][27] Cox was also subject to a $50,000 IRS tax lien in 2017, which Cox claims was the result of his check being stuck to the back of someone else's payment.[28]

Electoral historyEdit

California's 21st congressional district election, 2018[29]
Primary election
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican David Valadao (incumbent) 34,290 62.8
Democratic TJ Cox 20,293 37.2
Total votes 54,583 100.0
General election
Democratic TJ Cox 57,239 50.4
Republican David Valadao (incumbent) 56,377 49.6
Total votes 113,616 100.0
Democratic gain from Republican

Personal lifeEdit

Cox has four children with his wife, pediatrician Kathleen Murphy.[30]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Taub, David (May 30, 2018). "Issues Matter, Not Pelosi, as TJ Cox Talks Congressional Run". Fresno, California: GV Wire.
  2. ^ "Filipino American Candidates Make Runoffs in Legislative Races". Los Angeles: Rafu Shimpo. June 16, 2018.
  3. ^ Varona, Rae Ann (August 5, 2018). "Obama endorses Fil-Am TJ Cox for Congress". Asian Journal. Born in Walnut Creek, California to immigrant parents — his mother Perla De Castro from the Philippines, and half-Chinese father from China — Cox is among several congressional Filipino candidates who advanced to California’s general elections.
  4. ^ "Candidate Conversation - TJ Cox (D)". Inside Elections. August 31, 2018. Retrieved December 19, 2018.
  5. ^ Martin, Ed (October 3, 2018). "Political profile: Democratic candidate TJ Cox has an uphill climb against Rep. Valadao in 21st District". The Leader. Lemoore, California.
  6. ^ Barabak, Mark Z.; Sweedler, Maya (November 26, 2018). "Democrat TJ Cox grabs lead over Republican David Valadao in nation's last undecided House race". Los Angeles Times. Cox, 55, is an engineer by training and local business owner who founded two nut-processing companies.
  7. ^ Burger, James (March 6, 2018). "Fresno community development leader TJ Cox to take on Rep. David Valadao". The Bakersfield Californian.
  8. ^ https://www.fresnobee.com/news/politics-government/politics-columns-blogs/political-notebook/article203632719.html
  9. ^ Appleton, Rory (March 6, 2018). "TJ Cox to run against David Valadao for Congress". The Fresno Bee. Retrieved November 23, 2018.
  10. ^ Appleton, Rory (March 2, 2018). "Emilio Huerta drops out of congressional race against David Valadao". The Fresno Bee. Retrieved November 23, 2018.
  11. ^ a b Tolan, Casey (March 8, 2018). "Candidates wanted: Can Dems conquer Central Valley congressional seat?". The Mercury News. Retrieved November 23, 2018.
  12. ^ Ulloa, Jazmine (June 5, 2018). "GOP Rep. David Valadao, Democrat TJ Cox advance in bid for Central Valley's 21st District". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 25, 2018.
  13. ^ Appleton, Rory (November 26, 2018). "Cox now leading Valadao after Kern County update". The Fresno Bee. Retrieved November 26, 2018.
  14. ^ Mark Z. Barabak (November 28, 2018). "TJ Cox beats Republican Rep. David Valadao to give Democrats gain of 40 House seats, seven in California". Los Angeles Times.
  15. ^ Rakich, Nathaniel (November 27, 2018). "The Last Unresolved House Race Of 2018". FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved November 29, 2018. (Note: Despite the title of this article, North Carolina's 9th congressional district remained unresolved after California's 21st congressional district was resolved.)
  16. ^ Grace Segers (December 6, 2018). "Republican David Valadao concedes in contested California House race". CBS news. Retrieved December 7, 2018.
  17. ^ Schneider, Elena (December 1, 2018). "Inside the GOP's California nightmare". Politico. Retrieved June 4, 2019.
  18. ^ "The races to watch: California Congressional primary". CalMatters. Retrieved June 1, 2020.
  19. ^ Appleton, Rory (December 12, 2018). "How did TJ Cox erase a 25-point primary loss to become the Valley's next congressman?". Fresno Bee.
  20. ^ a b Kate Irby, Brianna Calix (November 21, 2019). "Bankruptcy and conflict: One of California's tightest races is packed with financial baggage". Fresno Bee.
  21. ^ Tavlian, Alex (December 12, 2019). "How a multi-millionaire father-son duo crashed the Cox-Valadao rematch". The San Joaquin Valley Sun. Retrieved June 1, 2020.
  22. ^ "Rep. TJ Cox". GovTrack. Retrieved May 3, 2020.
  23. ^ Tavlian, Alex (May 12, 2019). "Ethics complaint filed against Cox citing failed reporting of business ties". The San Joaquin Valley Sun. Retrieved June 1, 2020.
  24. ^ a b Irby, Kate (August 21, 2019). "California congressman took 2 years to pay wages he owed to Canadian workers".
  25. ^ Gligich, Daniel (March 12, 2020). "With $145k in unpaid taxes, Cox votes against bill to disclose liens, garnish wages". The San Joaquin Valley Sun. Retrieved June 22, 2020.
  26. ^ Gligich, Daniel. "IRS hits Cox with lien over $145k in unpaid income taxes". The San Joaquin Valley Sun. Retrieved June 22, 2020.
  27. ^ Yeager, Joshua. "Cox, Valadao face questions in business dealings as race for 21st district heats up". Visalia Times-Delta and Tulare Advance-Register. Retrieved June 22, 2020.
  28. ^ Irby, Kate (April 16, 2019). "California's most vulnerable Democrat is still untangling his tax liens heading into 2020".
  29. ^ "2018 California primary election results" (PDF). Retrieved June 10, 2019.
  30. ^ Martin, Ed (April 24, 2018). "Local seniors gather for "Bowzer" and to question congressional candidates". The Leader. Lemoore, California.

External linksEdit

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
David Valadao
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 21st congressional district

U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Ben Cline
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Angie Craig