Two more Republican candidates have joined the race to challenge Rep. Josh Harder next fall in the race to represent California’s 10th Congressional District — one with Turlock roots, and another with a Turlock address.
Modesto resident Jolene Daly officially kicked off her campaign last Thursday, which coincidentally was also her birthday. She spent much of her life in Turlock despite her current residence, growing up on the westside and attending Wakefield Elementary, Turlock Junior High and Turlock High before graduating in 1992.
Also announcing his campaign this week was Turlock resident Eugene Rubio Kilbride, a U.S. Army veteran and attorney originally raised in Patterson. Kilbride was deployed to Baghdad in 2005 and upon returning home, he earned a B.A. in Political Science as well as a Juris Doctor degree in 2019.
Both candidates are seeking to unseat Harder, who is currently in his second term, in the November 2022 election. They join a growing primary ballot which already includes fellow Republicans Simon Aslanpour and Jack Griffith, along with Democratic challengers Angelina Sigala and Mike Barkley.
According to Federal Election Commission filings, Harder has about $5.7 million in cash on hand for his campaign, but it hasn’t frightened candidates like Kilbride, who says this race isn’t about the money when it comes to votes.
“I'm a blue-collar guy, born and raised, and that's what this area needs. We don't need a Bay Area transplant or somebody who's backed by big DNC money,” Kilbride said. “I'm not beholden to anyone. I'm not a politician. I'm just a guy.”
Kilbride is against extremist views on both sides of the aisle, he said, and as a half-Mexican, half-white Central Valley native, he believes he can represent the diversity of District 10 and do it well. He said his top priority, if elected, would be to tackle the economy’s issues at the local level.
“I go to the store every day, I go pump gas and things are just out of control,” Kilbride said. “And COVID has affected that and our leadership has let it affect our economy. I just think there's an overreach that's unnecessarily stagnated our economy.”
Other issues at the top of Kilbride’s priority list include secure borders, the prosecution of violent criminals, giving parents more say in children’s education and securing benefits for veterans.
Daly said she hopes to be more successful than Harder’s previous Republican election mates Ted Howze and Jeff Denham by connecting with the community.
The marriage and family therapist and her husband lost everything they owned in 2002, but she created a new beginning for herself by going back to school and starting her own practice — a success story she believes helps her relate to District 10 constituents, many of whom she feels are overlooked when it comes to policy decisions.
“I'm concerned that those of us who are working class are not really being listened to. We're not being considered when it comes to the government making decisions and looking long term at how it's going to affect us; I think they're looking really short term and they put bandaids on so many things,” Daly said. “We pay so much in taxes and we don't really get a whole lot for that.”
Like Kilbride, Daly hopes to help residents keep more money in their pockets by making sure taxes aren’t raised. Other issues of importance for Daly include addressing the federal deficit, supporting mental health and securing water for agriculture.
District 10 could look a bit different by the time the election rolls around as the redistricting process takes place at both the local and national level. Finals California maps will be submitted to the Secretary of State by December 27.
The most recent map visualizations released by the 2020 California Citizens Redistricting Committee this week show the district losing out on its southernmost cities in Stanislaus County like Patterson, Newman and even the southern half of Turlock; it would also split cities like Ceres and Modesto in half, with the western side of these towns represented by a different person than the eastern half.
For more information on redistricting, visit www.wedrawthelines.ca.org.