As the election nears, the race for the ever-competitive California Congressional 10th District seat heats up between incumbent Jeff Denham (R-Turlock) and Michael Eggman (D), the race has grown increasingly interesting.
During the June Primary Election that would dictate November ballots, the race was between Denham, Eggman, and Michael Barkley (D) — who ran for the seat a second time to no avail.
Denham received 58.9 percent of the vote, Eggman followed with 26.4 percent of the vote and Barkley with 14.7 percent during the June Primary Election. In total, Denham received 44,237 votes, Eggman 19,804 votes, and Barkley 11,005 votes.
Voter registration in California’s 10th Congressional District, as of Sept. 5, 2014 is totaled at 294,204; 37.27 percent are registered Democrats while 40.03 percent are registered Republicans; 2.9 percent of the district are registered as American Independents.
The newly adopted top-two method of elections in California allows individuals seeking office to run, despite party affiliation, and whoever earns the two highest percentages of the vote, advances to the General Election.
Because of the new method, it is possible that in certain districts, for example, there may be two Democrats or two Republicans running for the same seat. The change allows for the possibility that voters may decide that while collectively their district may swing in one partisan direction, a certain candidate may represent them better when it comes to policy nuances.
Eggman, a Turlock High School graduate, grew up on his family’s farm in Turlock where they produce local honey with distributors in Stockton and Kingsburg. Eggman is the brother of State Assemblymember Susan Talamantes Eggman (D), who represents San Joaquin County.
Denham, an Air Force Veteran, was first elected to Congress in 2010. He sits on the House Committees on Veterans Affairs, Agriculture, and Transportation and Infrastructure where he is the Chairman on the Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials.
Many concerns with Eggman’s candidacy have been raised.
Previously, TurlockCityNews.com reported that the Stanislaus County Tax Collector was unable to find a business license for a business operating at the address of Eggman’s property.
“Michael's farm isn't incorporated and he files his taxes under his Social Security number like his neighbors and the vast majority of Central Valley farmers,” said Eggman spokesperson in response to questions about Eggman’s business license.
Regardless, to legally operate, businesses are required to have a license.
Additionally, Eggman confirmed that upon filing to run for the 10th District seat, he was not registered to vote in the 10th District noting registration in Fresno. The almond farmer and beekeeper has operations in both Turlock and Fresno and has stated that he splits his time between cities.
Though the United State Constitution only stipulates that individuals seeking to represent a Congressional District live in the state of the district, the practice is fairly uncommon and has the potential to lend to the appearance of disconnect from the electorate.
As of Oct. 29, Eggman is still not registered to vote in Stanislaus County where he has stated in numerous campaign advertisements, touting himself as a “real local farmer,” to be his place of residence.
Eggman has challenged Denham to a series of debates to which Denham did not agree to. No debates or forums between the candidates are currently scheduled, including the forum at California State University, Stanislaus where Eggman, but not Denham, was present.
Currently, Eggman has $397,053.25 cash on hand according to most recent FEC campaign contribution filings; he has reported a total of $1,150,250.72 in contributions and has spent $753,196.76 since July 2013 filings.
October FEC reports show Denham as having $1,513,291 cash on hand; he has reported $2,477,577.99 in total contributions since April 2013 and has spent a cumulative total of $1,119,753.86.
Despite all of the financial support for both candidates, Eggman recently lost some support from his party. Politico reported that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee was scaling back ads in districts of several elections, including in the race between Eggman and Denham.
Additionally, many political observers have already began to predict a victory for Denham.