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For many Californians, Saturday was a sunny gift of a fall day, a chance to stroll the beach, rake leaves, visit a park or take in a child’s soccer game.

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Swamped by a tidal wave of Democratic cash, Republicans entered the final 72 hours of the midterm campaign scrambling to preserve their slim Senate majority as a bulwark against the increasing prospect of a Democrat-run House.

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President Trump prefers sweeping superlatives when he talks about his record on the economy.

A few short years ago, Kim Adams couldn’t have told you the name of her representative in Congress.

  • Midterm Election
(Victoria Kim / Los Angeles Times)

Jane Shi, a 50-year-old banker and independent voter who lives in Irvine, said volunteers for both Rep. Mimi Walters (R-Laguna Beach) and Democratic challenger Katie Porter had come to her door. Even so, she had yet to make up her mind about who she was voting for.

Federal policies and candidates, Shi said, matter little in her life. Her priority has been state ballot propositions, and particularly Proposition 10, on rent control. She has a personal stake because she owns rental property.

“That’s more applicable for me locally,” she said. “I’m definitely against it; it’s bad for everybody,” she said.

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  • Midterm Election
Josh Harder, 32, poses for a photo with supporters at canvass kickoff in Modesto.
Josh Harder, 32, poses for a photo with supporters at canvass kickoff in Modesto. (Jazmine Ulloa/ Los Angeles Times)

To large and rambunctious crowds of volunteers on the final stretch of his campaign, Democrat Josh Harder on Saturday stressed the issue that started it all for him: healthcare.

The former investor and venture capitalist spent most of the last decade outside his Central Valley district for school and work. But he has said he made his return to the place where he was born and raised to run for Congress — his first bid for elected office — because of Republican Rep. Jeff Denham’s vote to repeal the Affordable Health Care Act.

“Every person you will be talking to today has a loved one who would be affected and hurt by that vote,” he told a group of more than two dozen people gathered at a Turlock home for a canvass kickoff. “For me, it would be my younger brother, David. He was born 10 weeks premature.”

(Victoria Kim / Los Angeles Times)

Jason Gates doesn’t have a TV at home, but it’s still been difficult for him to avoid what seems to be wall-to-wall political campaigning ahead of next week’s midterm election.

His mailbox has been stuffed daily with campaign mailers — his three young kids sometimes draw on them before they all go into the trash — and he’s barraged by ads on social media sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Nextdoor.

No matter. This election, like all the others in his 40-year life, Gates is not voting.

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Jake Wenger grows walnuts on land where early settlers arrived in search of gold and instead found rich soil. His orchards just west of Modesto stretch 700 acres and supply a nut company that has remained in his family for four generations.

  • Midterm Election