Harder surges past Denham in 10th Dis­trict House race

The Modesto Bee - - Front Page - BY GARTH STA­P­LEY gsta­p­ley@mod­bee.com

Demo­crat Josh Harder on Fri­day zoomed ahead of Repub­li­can in­cum­bent Jeff Denham in the hotly con­tested race for the U.S. House seat in the 10th Dis­trict, a stun­ning re­ver­sal from what was ini­tially an­nounced in the midterm elec­tion, al­though per­haps 20,000 bal­lots have yet to be counted.

Harder now has 51 per­cent of the vote, rep­re­sent­ing a lead of 3,362 votes over Denham, who had led by 1,287 votes in pre­lim­i­nary re­sults re­leased ear­lier this week.

The swing came af­ter Stanis­laus County elec­tion work­ers pro­cessed an ex­tra 63,631 late-ar­riv­ing mail-in bal­lots, and San Joaquin County added an­other 1,460.

About 17,700 bal­lots re­main un­pro­cessed in Stanis­laus County, in­clud­ing pro­vi­sional bal­lots and oth­ers cast in same-day reg­is­tra­tion, called con­di­tional bal­lots. San Joaquin has 90,000 bal­lots yet to process; a much smaller amount will fig­ure in the 10th Dis­trict, which in­cludes only Ripon, Escalon, Man­teca and Tracy in that county.

“We could not be more en­cour­aged by what we saw (tonight),” said Harder, 32, a po­lit­i­cal novice try­ing to un­seat a four-term vet­eran first elected to the House in 2010. Denham, 51, also rep­re­sented a dis­trict over­lap­ping with this area in the Cal­i­for­nia Se­nate from 2002 to 2010.

Denham could not reached for com­ment.

Harder said he wasn’t ter­ri­bly sur­prised by the change; po­lit­i­cal ob­servers know that early vot­ers tend to be con­ser­va­tive, while late-ar­riv­ing bal­lots his­tor­i­cally fa­vor Demo­cratic can­di­dates.

“We an­tic­i­pated late re­sults would shift things a lit­tle, so this is ex­actly what we ex­pected,” Harder said late Fri­day in a tele­phone con­ver­sa­tion. “The other side’s vot­ers tend to vote a lit­tle early, while ours tend to take their time, maybe get some cof­fee when they’re do­ing their bal­lot.”

Both men claim Tur­lock as

their home base, but their pol­i­tics are quite dif­fer­ent, and the cam­paign fea­tured scads of neg­a­tive tele­vi­sion com­mer­cials and mail­ers cost­ing sev­eral mil­lion dol­lars and run­ning al­most non­stop for sev­eral weeks.

Both sides mocked the other, Pho­to­shop­ping their op­po­nent’s faces into em­bar­rass­ing, car­toon­ish scenes. Harder por­trayed Denham as un­truth­ful and un­car­ing about con­stituents with pre-ex­ist­ing med­i­cal con­di­tions, while the in­cum­bent called his op­po­nent “Bay Area Harder” and said he is more aligned with San Fran­cisco lib­er­als and Nancy Pelosi than with Val­ley ideals.

The Modesto Bee’s cur­rent com­pu­ta­tions give Harder 51 per­cent of the vote, with a com­bined 89,763 votes from both coun­ties, based on new num­bers posted by each on Fri­day evening. Denham has 86,401 votes, or 49 per­cent.

The Cal­i­for­nia Sec­re­tary of State’s web­site on Fri­day showed Harder with 88,961 votes, or 50.9 per­cent, trailed by Denham’s 85,743 votes, or 49.1 per­cent. The rea­son for the dis­crep­ancy could not im­me­di­ately be de­ter­mined.

The race has been among the most-watched through­out the United States as Democrats an­gled to re­take con­trol of the House for the first time since 2010. That hap­pened be­cause of Demo­cratic wins else­where, but in­trigue in the Denham-Harder con­test re­mains high, partly be­cause peo­ple want to know who will rep­re­sent them in votes on wa­ter, health care, im­mi­gra­tion and taxes.

No other leads changed hands Fri­day in sig­nif­i­cant Stanis­laus races.

Dis­trict At­tor­ney Bir­git Fladager re­mains com­fort­ably ahead of chal­lenger John Mayne, 60.5 per­cent to 38.9 per­cent.

Dis­trict 3 County Su­per­vi­sor Terry Withrow lost a cou­ple of per­cent­age points, dip­ping from 53.9 per­cent to 51.8 per­cent; he now leads Modesto Coun­cil­man Tony Madri­gal by 942 votes, a lit­tle less than the 1,048-vote lead Withrow ini­tially posted ear­lier in the week.

Tom Ber­ry­hill lost a bit of ground, from 53.1 per­cent on elec­tion night to 52.4 per­cent on Fri­day, but con­tin­ues to lead Frank Dam­rell in the other su­per­vi­so­rial race for Dis­trict 4.

Amy Bublak stretched her lead in the Tur­lock mayor’s race from 36.9 per­cent re­ported on elec­tion night to 37.2 per­cent in Fri­day’s up­date, com­fort­ably ahead of former Mayor Brad Bates (29.3 per­cent), who now has only 23 votes more than in­cum­bent Mayor Gary Soiseth (29.2 per­cent).

Scott Kuyk­endall’s lead over Shan­non San­ford in the race for county schools su­per­in­ten­dent shrunk slightly, from 54.5 per­cent to 54.2 per­cent.

Stanis­laus vot­ers still fa­vor GOP gu­ber­na­to­rial can­di­date John Cox over gover­nor-elect Gavin New­som, 51.7 per­cent to 48.3 per­cent. But true to form for late-ar­riv­ing votes lean­ing left, the gap nar­rowed from ear­lier in the week, when nearly 54 per­cent of vot­ers here pre­ferred Cox.

Fri­day’s up­date, still in­com­plete, brings turnout in Stanis­laus County, how­ever tem­po­rar­ily, to 58 per­cent, a jump from 43.3 per­cent in the last midterm elec­tion four years ago.

MARTY BICEK mbicek@mod­bee.com

Josh Harder talks to sup­port­ers at his cam­paign party Tues­day evening at Greens On Tenth in down­town Modesto. Harder trailed Tues­day but has moved into the lead.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.