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August 2017 Essential Politics archives

This is Essential Politics for August 2017. Find our daily look at California political and government news over here.

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2018 election

Rep. Jeff Denham's newest challenger isn't old enough to be a congressman yet

 (Courtesy of Mateo Morelos Bedolla for Congress)
(Courtesy of Mateo Morelos Bedolla for Congress)

The newest Democrat to announce a challenge against Republican incumbent Jeff Denham of Turlock is also one of the youngest congressional candidates in the state.

Mateo Morelos Bedolla, 24, of Tracy isn't even old enough to be in Congress. If he manages to pull ahead in the crowded June primary in his long-shot bid to unseat the four-term congressman., he'll meet the constitutionally required age of 25 before the November 2018 general election.

"I feel that I'm uniquely qualified based on the work that I've done," said Bedolla, who left his job as a congressional aide for Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-Stockton) earlier this year.

Prior to working for McNerney, Bedolla said he worked in construction to help put himself through college. 

In a statement announcing his run, Bedolla said he supports a Medicare-for-all model for healthcare and "debt-free education," but said in an interview that he doesn't want to be labeled a "Berniecrat," a name used by some candidates who support an agenda promoted by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, the former Democratic presidential candidate.

"I'm trying to address basic issues that would apply to everybody," said Bedolla, who said he voted for Sanders in last year's presidential primary.

Bedolla formed a campaign committee in May and reported raising $114 in the second quarter of 2017. He joins at least seven other candidates who are hoping to unseat Denham.

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