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(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.

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  • Midterm Election
Democratic candidate Ammar Campa-Najjar fires up volunteers with L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti in Escondido on Saturday.
Democratic candidate Ammar Campa-Najjar fires up volunteers with L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti in Escondido on Saturday. (Maya Sweedler / Los Angeles Times)

L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti stopped by Escondido to help Democratic congressional candidate Ammar Campa-Najjar kick off his get-out-the-vote push Saturday. Campa-Najjar is challenging Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Alpine) for his seat in the conservative 50th Congressional District.

Recent polls have showed the gap narrowing between the 29-year-old first-time candidate and the five-term incumbent, who was indicted in August on charges of campaign finance violations. Hunter still holds a narrow lead, but it is within the margin of error.

In his remarks to the volunteers, who filled the cramped campaign headquarters, Garcetti spoke about the importance of electing someone who values unity over self-preservation.

  • Midterm Election
Patricia Hayes, 58, and Michael Hayes, 63, of Buena Park. Both cast ballots for Gil Cisneros in the 39th District.
Patricia Hayes, 58, and Michael Hayes, 63, of Buena Park. Both cast ballots for Gil Cisneros in the 39th District. (Christine Mai-Duc / Los Angeles Times)

Patricia and Michael Hayes came to a Sears parking lot in Buena Park to vote in person Saturday afternoon, their grandson Terrence in tow. Michael said the most important issues driving his congressional vote as a retiree were protecting Social Security, Healthcare, and Medicare. 

"There is a movement, I think, on the Republican side to do away with it," he said. 

"Especially for people with preexisting injuries," his wife, Patricia Hayes, chimed in.

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Luka, who just turned 1, was ready to help mom Raisa Orleans knock on doors for candidate Katie Porter in the 45th Congressional District.
Luka, who just turned 1, was ready to help mom Raisa Orleans knock on doors for candidate Katie Porter in the 45th Congressional District. (Victoria Kim / Los Angeles Times)

Saturday morning at the Tustin corporate office park headquarters of Katie Porter, volunteers ready to knock on doors ranged in age from a 1-year-old strapped to his mother, to a woman who said she was “old enough that I remember World War II.”

Britta Lindgren, who did not want to give her exact age other than to say she was in the last quadrant of her life, had driven an hour and half from her home in West L.A. to volunteer for Porter,  a first-time Democrat challenging Rep. Mimi Walters (R-Laguna Beach) in a district that has never sent a Democrat to Congress.

“I remember Hitler and Mussolini. I don’t want to be alarmist but it feels the same,” she said.

Cristina Escobedo, 41, and Cristal Reyes, 16, make a final push for Democrat Josh Harder by knocking on doors in the town of Ceres, Calif.
Cristina Escobedo, 41, and Cristal Reyes, 16, make a final push for Democrat Josh Harder by knocking on doors in the town of Ceres, Calif.

Immigrant rights advocates and farmworkers hit the streets early Saturday to get out the vote in the 10th Congressional District, where Republican Rep. Jeff Denham and Democrat Josh Harder are locked in one of the most intense races in California.

Denham, 51, has strong support from farmers who depend on farmworkers to pick their crops; the Turlock congressman has tried to toe the middle line on immigration. But members of the United Farm Workers union and United We Dream Action, a national immigrant rights group, are making a final push for Harder, contending that Denham mostly sides with his party on strict immigration policies that hurt their communities.

Out in Ceres, south of Modesto, Cristina Escobedo, 41, and Cristal Reyes, 16, had talked to nearly 20 people before noon. A volunteer with United Farm Workers, Escobedo has harvested almonds and grapes for two decades and fought for farmworkers’ rights for five.

Marylee and Grayson Sanders made hundreds of calls to voters in an effort to reelect Rep. Mimi Walters and keep GOP control of the House.
Marylee and Grayson Sanders made hundreds of calls to voters in an effort to reelect Rep. Mimi Walters and keep GOP control of the House. (Victoria Kim / Los Angeles Times)

It’s been a few years since Marylee and Grayson Sanders have volunteered for political campaigns — her last was for the younger Bush, his for Eisenhower, passing out “I like Ike” signs in the 1950s.

Saturday morning, they spent hours making hundreds of calls at the Irvine campaign headquarters of Rep. Mimi Walters, trying to get voters out to the polls to keep her in office and hold on to Republican control of the House.

Marylee, 74, said she was motivated to get involved after the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings because she felt the then-nominee to the Supreme Court was treated unfairly. She said she wasn’t a fan of President Trump’s way of expressing himself but supported his policies, including scaling back business regulations and restricting immigration.

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  • Midterm Election
  • Midterm Election
(Dakota Smith / Los Angeles Times)

Addressing supporters who gathered in her campaign office parking lot Friday in Carlsbad, Republican candidate Diane Harkey bemoaned the state of the race for California's 49th Congressional District. She told the crowd that she'd gotten no financial support from the national Republican Party in her race against Democrat Mike Levin to replace the retiring Darrell Issa.

"If the seat goes, so goes Orange County," Harkey told the small crowd, urging them to vote.

"Turnout is crucial. Turnout is crucial because we are neck in neck. Shouldn't be, but we are."