In the end the race for California’s 10th Congressional district was one of the most hotly-contested in the country – with millions of dollars in outside money pouring in during the final two weeks of the campaign as Democrats tried to flip a Republican seat in the heart of California’s Central Valley.
And once almost all of the votes were counted, it was still too close to call.
Incumbent Republican Jeff Denham of Turlock is currently holding a slim margin over upstart Democratic challenger Josh Harder. According to the California Secretary of State’s office, with 305 of 478 precincts reporting, Denham currently holds a 758 vote lead over Harder – a Modesto Junior College professor and Harvard alum that campaigned heavily on the fact that he was not accepting money from outside political action committees.
Denham, who beat the same Democratic challenger in each of the last two elections handily, campaigned heavily on his record on water – focusing the final two months of his campaign on using his connections in Washington, D.C., to help defeat the State of California’s plan to send even more water down the Merced, Tuolumne and Stanislaus Rivers to promote healthy fish populations and flush the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta by sending even more freshwater out into the San Francisco Bay.
Over the course of the last three months Denham has brought a string of high-profile Washington insiders – including the Secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture – to the district is discuss the downfalls he sees with California’s proposed water policies.
Not be outdone, Harder launched an extensive town hall surge that allowed him to interact directly with voters in each of the communities he’s hoping to represent in Congress – dozens of meetings during the final months of the campaign.
Absentee ballots in both Stanislaus and San Joaquin Counties are still outstanding, as are provisional ballots. According to the Modesto Bee, polling problems in Stanislaus County – where both of the candidates live – led to an emergency hearing to potentially extend voting hours after a dozen polling places ran out of provisional ballots, leading to voters being turned away and sent to other polling locations.
That legal motion was eventually denied.
Other reports came in that some precincts in Modesto ran completely out of ballots roughly an hour before the polls were set to close.
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