A Democrat running for Congress in California is drawing scrutiny because property records suggest that a home 3,000 miles away may be his primary residence.
Cox, who is running to unseat Rep. David Valadao, R-Hanford, purchased a $1 million Cape Cod-style home in the Washington, D.C., suburb of Bethesda, Md., in 2016, according to Montgomery County property records.
The property records show Cox has paid about half his annual property taxes on the three-bedroom, four-bathroom home and has claimed it as his principal residence on state property tax records each year since.
Cox also received a $692 county property tax credit on the home in the previous fiscal year.
He also owns at least two homes with his wife in Fresno, Calif., according to Fresno County property records.
In a statement before the story was published online, a spokesman for Cox accused Valadao’s campaign of resorting to “misleading attacks” and that “TJ Cox proudly lives, works and raises his family here in the Central Valley, and has for the past 20 years.”
The spokesman declined to answer whether Cox owns a home in Maryland.
Andrew Godinich, a spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said the state of Maryland automatically marked the home as Cox’s principal residence, but it’s not.
Godinich also said Cox is not registered to vote in Maryland, but is registered to vote in Fresno County, the paper said.
Maryland defines a principal residence as “the one dwelling where the homeowner regularly resides,” meaning Cox must live in his Maryland home more than half of the year to claim what he’s been claiming on his tax documents.
Cox said he previously lived in Modesto, Calif., when he attempted to run against Rep. Jeff Denham, a Republican who represents the 10th Congressional District in the Central Valley.
In March, Cox switched races to campaign against Valadao following the withdrawal of his challenger, Emilio Huerta.
Valadao has tried painting Cox as an outsider who doesn’t live in the district he’s campaigning represent and Cox has sought to tie Valadao to President Trump.
Valadao’s voting records aligns with Trump, according to the political analytics website, FiveThirtyEight.
A poll of “likely voters” conducted by SurveyUSA found Valadao to be leading Cox, 50 percent to 39 percent, Fresno’s KFSN-TV reported.
Obama has returned to the campaign trail in an effort to energize Democrats and stump for several U.S. House candidates. He praised Cox in a Sept. 8 speech in Anaheim, Calif.
Both the Republican and Democratic parties have poured money into the race. Democrats are trying to flip the seat because of the party’s 17-point advantage in voter registration.
In 2016, Clinton beat Trump in the district by 16 percentage points.