Democrats barely outnumber Republicans in the 10th Congressional District in the Central Valley, but higher Republican turnout has kept it in GOP hands.
But after Hillary Clinton eked out a victory here in 2016, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee began targeting the district voters in Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties.
Democrats are fronting first-time candidate Josh Harder to face incumbent Rep. Jeff Denham of Turlock.
Denham has repeatedly attacked Harder, a Stanford University graduate and former vice president of a Silicon Valley venture capital firm, as a “Bay area” candidate who won’t represent the Central Valley.
Harder, who was born and raised in the district, has countered by contending that Denham abandons positions he expresses to constituents and just votes along party lines.
Denham previously represented the area in the state Senate, served in the Air Force and founded a company specializing in plastic packaging used in agriculture.
Harder has a five-point lead among likely voters, according to a recent poll from UC Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies.
District voters say they most care about healthcare, immigration, gun laws and the economy, according to the IGS poll.
- Voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which angered some constituents.
- Voted for Republicans' American Health Care Act, which passed in the House and does not include the Obamacare provision limiting how much insurance companies can charge people with preexisting conditions.
- Supports Medicare for all.
- Wants to reduce healthcare costs long-term by limiting what he calls pharmaceutical companies' monopolistic practices and price gouging; allowing imports of medicine from Canada; and paying providers for quality of care, not volume.
- Says he opposes the Delta Tunnel.
- "I will continue to fight for local control of our precious resources by standing up against state and federal water grabs on the Stanislaus and Tuolumne rivers, proposing creative and cost-effective solutions that save threatened fish and advance our scientific knowledge of the fishery, and utilizing our local reservoirs for increased storage at no cost to the taxpayer," Denham says on his congressional website.
- Says he opposes the Delta Tunnel.
- "My top priority in office will be to fight for the Valley’s long-term water security. ... I will support projects that effectively manage our groundwater systems, like expanding the UC Davis’ groundwater recharge and banking project in Modesto. I’ll support our local groundwater sustainability agencies and the plans they’ve developed. The treatment plant in the Modesto subbasin, which MID [Modesto Irrigation District] and the city of Modesto built decades ago, provides a great example of type of project we should be promoting.”
Harder told the Modesto Bee.
- Supports a path to citizenship for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program recipients. "America has never punished children for the actions of their parents, and we shouldn't start now. These children and young adults know no other country as home. DACA recipients came forward at the government's request, paid their fees (some of them more than once) and passed background checks. ... We owe it to them to fulfill our promise of an earned pathway to citizenship," he wrote in The Times.
- Opposes family separation policy.
- One of two dozen House Republicans who signed a petition that would force the House to vote on four bipartisan immigration bills, which included a fix for DACA recipients.
- Co-sponsored a bipartisan bill that would protect DACA recipients from deportation and increase border security measures and the number of immigration judges.
- Supports a path to citizenship for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program recipients.
- Has indicated he'd support bipartisan immigration reform, such as the 2013 bill co-sponsored by a bipartisan group of senators dubbed the Gang of Eight.
- “Family separation policy is just one symptom of a much larger disease, which is that this administration and our current Congress has shown no courage to do comprehensive immigration reform," Harder told Mother Jones magazine. "I’m glad it seems like it may be ended, but it seems like there’s a way bigger problem here.”
- Voted for the Republican tax bill, and has said it would help Valley families.
- Called the tax bill "a massive middle finger to California families" in a Facebook post and said middle class families' taxes will begin to rise after a few years.