Incumbent Congressman Jeff Denham will be on the November ballot following Tuesday night’s primary election, but whether he’ll be facing off against a Democrat or Republican is still up in the air.
The race has promised all year to be a close contest, and the election’s preliminary results lived up to expectations. As expected, Denham had received a lion’s share of the votes as of 10 p.m. Tuesday with 38.3 percent of the ballots in his favor, or 17,065 votes. In Stanislaus County, 12,386 votes were cast for Denham.
Democrats Josh Harder, Sue Zwahlen, Michael Eggman, Virginia Madueno, Mike Barkley and Dotty Nygard (who was on the ballot, but dropped out of the race) and Republican Ted Howze all challenged Denham, but only the top vote-getter of the seven will advance to face the incumbent in November.
“It feels good. We’ve been working hard for a year and a half and it’s nice to see things are looking up.”Democratic Congressional Candidate Josh Harder
As of 10 p.m., Harder was in the lead with 6,702 total votes — 5,000 of which were cast in Stanislaus County.
“It feels good. We’ve been working hard for a year and a half and it’s nice to see things are looking up,” Harder said of the preliminary results. “I think it’s a little too early to know where the results are going to end up, but San Joaquin County looks pretty good for us.”
Harder had received just over 14 percent of the vote in San Joaquin County, or 1,702, compared to Denham’s 4,679 votes in the same county. Howze had received 5,939 votes total as of 10 p.m. Tuesday — 4,557 in Stanislaus County and 1,382 in San Joaquin — and had high expectations ahead of the final vote tally.
“We’re actually ecstatic with the first results…Josh and Jeff Denham both ran big absentee ballot programs which we didn’t have time to do,” Howze said. “To be only 700 votes down after what we expected to be the big punch, we’re feeling good.”
“As those Election Day ballots toll in, we think Denham’s numbers and Harder’s numbers will drop off and we’re going to catch up.”Republican Congressional Candidate Ted Howze
As the top two vote-getters behind Denham, Howze and Harder both need the late-night count of Election Day ballots to fall in their favor.
“As those Election Day ballots toll in, we think Denham’s numbers and Harder’s numbers will drop off and we’re going to catch up,” Howze said.
On the contrary, Harder believes that poll votes in Stanislaus County combined with numbers from San Joaquin County will pull him even further ahead of Howze.
“Given the fact that we had the only ground game and field program today, the day-of election ballots are going to be pretty good for us,” Harder said.
Howze’s success in the election so far shows how voter opinion has changed in District 10, Harder added.
“I think it’s good news for the district. Ted Howze’s success shows another group of Independents and Republicans that are really upset with Jeff Denham,” Harder said. “It’s a wholesale rejection of an agenda that doesn’t represent this district at all.”
While less than 1,000 votes separate the two, Howze believes that his campaign’s success has shattered everyone’s expectations.
“We knew we were threading the eye of the political needle,” he said. “I think people underestimated the power of the campaign we could run with only 90 days to do it.”
Eggman wasn’t too far behind Harder and Howze for the number two spot Tuesday night, collecting 5,070 votes, followed by Zwahlen with 4,270, Madueno with 3,787, Barkley with 1,235 and Nygard with 495.