Johnny Tacherra increases lead over Jim Costa in congressional race

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The long-shot candidate for Congress has increased his lead over incumbent Democrat Jim Costa. The latest numbers give Republican Johnny Tacherra a boost.

It's still a 50-50 split, but with the latest figures from Merced County, Tacherra now leads Costa by 741 votes, out of more than 80,000 votes counted so far. Tacherra led Costa by 736 votes on election night.

However, thousands of votes in Fresno, Merced and Madera counties remain to be counted.

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At his campaign headquarters in Fresno Friday night, Tacherra told Action News he's confident of victory.

Congressman Costa issued a statement saying he was confident that once all the votes are counted, he will continue having the privilege to represent the people of the Central Valley.

1,500 Merced County votes are still to be counted. There are 22,000 votes yet to be counted in Fresno County. About 4,000 of those are believed to be in the 16th district. The Fresno count is expected to be updated next Wednesday.

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