Costa has wide lead in Congressional race

Incumbent Rep. Jim Costa, D-Fresno, led Tuesday’s 16th Congressional District race, taking 43 percent of the votes.

Republican candidate and third-generation dairyman Johnny Tacherra came in second, with 21.9 percent of the votes.

This is Tacherra‘s second attempt in trying to take Costa out. He lost in the 2012 primary election, but last August was the first to file with the Federal Election Commission to run this year.

The 16th District represents all of Merced County, and parts of Madera and Fresno counties.

Republican hopeful Steve Crass, a Fresno attorney, took 23.1 percent of the votes in Merced County, but 16.7 percent of the votes districtwide.

Two other Republicans challenged Costa: former military officer Mel Levey and Chowchilla farmer and businesswoman Joanna Garcia-Botelho.

Job Melton, a Fresno mental health physician, was the only other Democratic candidate.

According to the California secretary of state’s website, votes from 48.9 percent of precincts were recorded as of press time.

Costa, who is seeking his sixth term in Congress, was first elected to the House in 2004.

Costa is known to be a strong supporter of the high-speed rail project and the Affordable Care Act – two points his opponents criticized during debates.

Costa and Tacherra will face off in the November election.