The long anticipated news is officially here: the former Mayor of Riverbank, Virginia Madueño, has entered the race to unseat powerhouse of the 10th Congressional District, Representative Jeff Denham, R-Turlock. As a Democrat, she adds her name to a list of nine people opposing Denham for Congress in 2018, eight Democrats and one independent. I will call this fraction of candidates, 10-for-10!
Attitude will be a major player to watch carefully during the upcoming heated elimination campaign to dethrone Denham. The Federal Election Commission reports the congressman’s war chest is of over $1 million cash on-hand. On top of the 10-for-10 challenging Denham are 30-year old Turlock native and vice president of Bessemer Venture Partners in San Francisco, Josh Harder, with almost $375,000 cash on-hand. Assuming Denham doesn’t find a Republican to offset the formula and derail the California’s primary on June 5, 2018, only one from the 10-for10 will move on to the November 6, 2018, mid-term elections.
There is a feeling of unhappiness, disappointment, and uncertainty across the nation from people from all walks of life, or political spectrum. The disbelief how the country voted last year’s election from the far liberal and centrists, and the betrayal being felt today from the far right from the broken promises of the current administration, all these feelings cause a rebirth of a passage in our history we thought we had worked out.
The 10th Congressional District is part of the Cesar Chavez’s movement. The cry for fair wages and equal treatment for farm workers is still heard but this time loud and clear from the unionized worker; the farming industry is no longer the weakest link to unfairness but the pulpit from where we start to see the far-left campaigning for what it believes it is shared with everyone else. It was born from the “Feel the Bern” movement; it is organized and energized and probably unstoppable.
Of the 10-for-10, two serious candidates can flip the 10th Congressional District from red to blue, Virginia Madueño and Josh Harder. Both candidates are natives of the district they want to represent in Congress, have strengths, but also weaknesses they must overcome immediately to unseat Denham.
Madueño is a self-made professional; an inspiration to all who see in her the role model for their daughters, an advocate for equal access to health care and equal pay. She demands respect and dignity for the cornerstone of our nation, our values. She is a proven leader who has lead in government; a job creator with less taxation. But her humble beginnings from being a child of immigrants parents to all other qualities she has may not be sufficient enough to engage the far-left.
And then we have Harder who is an Ivy school grad; an inspiration to all parents who would like their children to be as successful. He possesses the art of persuasion which is a must in a political campaign. His scholastic background is exceptional, his self-made wealth and circle of influence are not from the Central Valley. He maybe what “Feel the Bern” has in mind, but he may not be sufficient enough for the disfranchise unionized worker or the centrist farmer who blames Wall Street for all our misfortunes.
According to the California Secretary of State, as of January 2017, there were 65,996 voters to engage in flipping the district from red to blue; these are the No Party Preference (NPP) registered voter. Even though Democrats lead Republicans in voter registration in 10th Congressional District, both parties have seen a decline in registration. From 314,022 registered voters in February 2013 to 335,495 in January 2017, the percentile of Democrats and Republicans have decreased by 1% and 2% respectively while the NPP increased by almost 4% and it is here where the balance will shift to keep the incumbent or become blue. These voters are neither “Feel the Bern” or “Trump Country” followers, but folks who have lost faith in both major parties, and while they continue to look for answers, their attitude is becoming the unstoppable political storm in 2018 and beyond. They are the writers of an undeniable epitaph for any candidate who wants to set out the storm in the hope of rescue by a system which has and continue to fail all of us.