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Emilio Huerta concedes congressional race

FILE -- Bakersfield attorney and congressional candidate Emilio Huerta is seen in a January 2016 photo. (KBAK/KBFX photo, file)

Democrat Emilio Huerta has conceded the race for the 21st Congressional District against Republican David Valadao.

Below is the written statement he issued to his supporters.

"When I entered this race In January of this year, I never anticipated the passion and support for our campaign.
From the Grapevine to Fresno County, in communities throughout the 21st Congressional district, people have been extremely excited about voting for a candidate from the Central Valley. Someone who will fight for them. The support from people has been overwhelming. I will forever cherish their words of encouragement. I met residents who told me they had never voted before, but they were voting this year because they wanted to support us. I knew I made the right decision to run when hearing such comments.
We knew this was going to be a tough race. One of my goals for this campaign was to engage Latinos throughout the Central Valley to participate in the electoral process. We may not have come out on top this election, but we succeeded in registering people and getting them to exercise their right to vote, something they had never participated before. We made great progress, and we have more work to do over the coming years to continue to mobilize our communities and amplify our voices about the issues affecting our daily lives.
From the outset, we were told our campaign was a longshot. We were told that our opponent could not be beat because he had too much money. We were told that Latinos don’t matter, because Latinos don’t vote. We were underestimated. We had faith in our supporters and faith in the people of the Central Valley. We exceeded expectations thanks to the hard work of our friends, family, volunteers, and supporters.
The election is over, but our work will continue. It is time to come together and demand comprehensive immigration reform, improved education, clean air and water, and new industries with well-paying jobs. It is time to build on the momentum of our campaign and turn our attention to making the Central Valley the place we know it can be. A place where our children want to attend college. A place where the hardest-working people in California won’t have to struggle to raise their families. A place where we celebrate immigrants and their contributions to our community. A place where hope thrives and aspirations are realized.
My family and I have dedicated our lives to serving the Central Valley and this dedication will never waver. This campaign has strengthened my resolve to fight for the underrepresented. I am committed to ensuring that our underserved communities are never left behind.
Thank you all for taking this journey with me."

On Monday night, Huerta trailed Valadao by nearly 18,000 votes.

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