While many Democratic candidates vying to replace Congressman Jeff Denham and represent California’s 10th Congressional District have been campaigning and debating for months, a familiar face announced on Monday that he too would be joining the race, challenging the incumbent Republican for the third time in five years.
Turlock native Michael Eggman, a local beekeeper, almond farmer and small business owner, lost close races against Denham in the 2014 and 2016 elections. The Eggman versus Denham 2016 campaign was the third closest congressional race in the nation and saw Eggman nearly unseat Denham, losing the election by just six percent of the vote.
Now, Eggman is back to challenge Denham once more.
Joining a group of Democratic candidates that already includes seven hopefuls, like former Riverbank Mayor Virginia Madueno and Modesto engineer and small businessman TJ Cox, Eggman is hoping to pull off another insurgent candidacy after taking a step back from campaigning in 2017 to focus on his farm and help other Democrats get elected into office through the grassroots organization he founded, Red to Blue California.
“Over the last 12 months, I've seen what a Donald Trump presidency has done to our country, our state and this valley because Republicans like Jeff Denham put party before country time after time," said Eggman.
Eggman said he received countless calls from local Democratic party officials, local labor representatives and Central Valley workers who told him he “was the only candidate who could beat an entrenched incumbent” like Denham, and asked him to reconsider running for Congress.
“…I did just that,” said Eggman. “As my youngest daughter reminded me, families like ours need to stand up and fight back against all the craziness and hatred that we are seeing and hearing now more than ever. She is absolutely right.”
The race promises to be a tight, contentious competition, as the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is looking to unseat over 60 Republicans this fall – seven of which are Californians, including Denham. After Denham defeated Eggman last year despite an excess of funding from the DCCC, the committee has refocused their efforts on California’s 10th District, naming it as one of the seven Republican-held areas in the state that they plan to target.
In 2016, Eggman received 82,428 votes in District 10, or 47.93 percent of the vote, compared to Denham’s 89,539 votes received. In the election prior, Eggman lost by a larger margin of just over 11,500 votes, or about 13 percent of the total votes.
Eggman has gained ground on Denham in each election as the years progress, and he’s hoping to finally beat the incumbent in this year’s midterm election.
“It's time to put an end to our double-talking Congressman, who tells us he will solve problems for Valley families before going back to Washington DC, where he votes to gut affordable healthcare coverage, forces working Californians to fund tax cuts for billionaires, and refuses to lift a finger to protect DREAMers from deportation,” said Eggman. “Donald Trump's and Jeff Denham's vision for America is not shared by this Valley. I'm ready to get back to work.”