MANTECA (CBS13) — Election Day is just 12 days away and one of the most closely watched races, both locally and nationally, is down in San Joaquin County.
Polls show the battle for the 10th Congressional District seat in California between Josh Harder and Rep. Jeff Denham are closer than ever.
The district covers the greater Modesto area and stretches all the way from Manteca to Turlock to west of Patterson. Denham has won the race four times. He’s the incumbent but some polls show challenger Harder in the lead.
“This is one of the biggest races in the country,” said CBS13 political analyst Gary Dietrich.
And by the numbers, it’s going to be a close call.
“I think we’re seeing a lot of people who are tired of being lied to, they’re tired of being left behind, they’re tired of being hurt,” said Krista Serpa, a Harder supporter.
“With everything going on, I don’t know how to vote,” said Scott Adkins, a Manteca voter.
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A Siena College/New York Times poll among likely voters on Oct. 23 showed Harder at 49% and Denham at 43%. And a UC Berkeley Poll from October 4th put Harder 5 points ahead of Denham.
“I think the reality is that we can’t take anything for granted and this is a race that is going to come down to the wire,” Harder said.
Jeff Denham’s campaign isn’t too focused on early numbers.
“Ah, we take them with a grain of salt,” said Josh Whitfield, campaign manager for Jeff Denham.
Dietrich explained why the nation has such a close eye on the 10th district.
“Denham sits in one of seven congressional seats that were won by Hillary Clinton in California,” he said. “And then he won his last race by only 3%!”
And voters like Serpa say they don’t want a repeat of 2016.
“A lot of people were complacent, I know I was complacent before,” she said.
And then there’s the money. Federal Elections Commission data shows Harder raising $6 million so far, with Denham at $4.1 million raised.
“We’ve financed our campaign by taking donations from individual contributors,” Harder said. “I haven’t taken a single dollar from corporate PAC money.”
But Whitfield says many of those dollars are from out of state and, like Harder, not representative of the 10th district.
“To put it in perspective, this campaign is staffed by people from this district,” Whitfield said. “Democrats have spent millions of dollars two years ago to try to knock him out of his seat and he continues to be re-elected.”
But voters like Adkins remain undecided.
“I’ve read up on both of them and it’s like I don’t like either one of them,” he said.