Congressman Josh Harder won’t be the only Democrat on the campaign trail leading up to next year’s midterm election, as two District 10 candidates believe they’re the better blue choice for voters.
Mike Barkley of Manteca and Angelina Sigala of Modesto will both challenge Harder as Democratic candidates, though Barkley told the Journal he doesn’t plan to appear on the ballot because Harder has too much funding behind him. The U.S. Navy veteran and lawyer first ran for Congress in 2012 and has unsuccessfully headed campaigns in 2014, 2016, 2018 and 2020.
Despite his plans to not appear on the ballot, Barkley said he will campaign once again “just in case” Harder drops out of the race. He describes himself as a progressive Democrat with a platform that includes Medicare for all, combatting climate change, addressing water shortages, Black Lives Matter and repealing the second amendment.
“This has not been about me. This is about the proposals in my platform listed below,” Barkley says on his website. “Recent years have been grim for many in this country; implementing proposals like these will help.”
In the 2020 primary election, Barkley came in fourth place behind Republican candidate Bob Elliott with 5,561 votes, or 3.5% of the votes. Harder and Republican Ted Howze were the top two vote-getters, respectively, and advanced to the general election.
This year, Harder has over $5 million in cash on hand according to Federal Election Commission[AM1] data. Barkley reported just over $450 as of the most recent filings.
Also running is Sigala, another progressive who felt compelled to make a bid for Congress after spending years as a vaccine advocate and infectious disease expert following the death of her sister from the Swine Flu in 2015. She said that although she believes Harder is doing a fine job as the area’s representative, she believes her connection to the community and dedication to transparency will make her an accessible figure for those looking to answers to their problems.
She hopes to tackle homelessness head on if elected, she said, as she’s seen firsthand the impact of the issue on her Modesto community, and believes veterans in the area need more help than they’re receiving.
“I’ve lived through everything that people are living through in this county, so I know firsthand if I can make those changes,” Sigala said. “I know that people will believe in me and vote for me.”