For the second time in two years, early election results indicate that Republican incumbent Jeff Denham will defeat Democratic challenger Michael Eggman in the race for California’s 10th Congressional District.
The high-profile race was not uncharted territory for the two Turlock-dwelling candidates, who faced off in 2014 with Denham defeating Eggman by over 15,000 votes. As of 10 p.m. Tuesday night, Denham had 41,429 votes, or 52.5 percent, while Eggman had received 37,489 votes, or 47.5 percent.
Democrats invested heavily in the contest in an attempt to reduce the GOP’s majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, as the polls showed a close race in the weeks leading up to the election. The district was moved from a rating of “lean Republican” to a “toss-up” last month by both the Cook Political Report and the University of Virginia Center for Politics.
Over $11 million was spent on the closely-watched race, with outside groups reporting spending at least $8.2 million. Individually, Denham and Eggman had reported spending an additional $3.7 million through Oct. 19.
The two largest outside contributors were the Republican-run Congressional Leadership Fund and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which both spent more than $3 million in the race. The Democrat’s House Majority PAC also spent more than $1 million on behalf of Eggman.
Though Democrats have a slight voter registration advantage in the Republican-held 10th Congressional District, it was not enough for Eggman to take the lead Tuesday night. In addition to the race’s heavy-spending, the beekeeper attacked Denham throughout the campaign for supporting Donald Trump in spite of the Republican presidential nominee’s controversies through a series of attack ads, also to no avail.
If the early results are any indication of how the race will end, this will be Denham’s fourth two-year term.