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California - 18th District

Incumbent -- Dennis Cardoza (D) ; Resigned from office effective , .

Safe Democratic
Race Ratings Key

CQ Politics rates this race as "Safe," meaning the incumbent party is virtually certain to win the seat.


District Information

District Profile from Politics in America

The 18th takes in most of Stockton in San Joaquin County, then dives south to pick up half of Stanislaus County and Merced County, which make up the district's agricultural base. A narrow strip stretches through Madera and Fresno counties to almost reach the city of Fresno. Modesto, the Stanislaus County seat, experienced years of growth as businesses fled California's congested coastal cities. The Central Valley's successful agriculture industry also supported a stable economy that has been beset by rising unemployment and foreclosure rates.

Many of the district's blue-collar workers -- the 18th has the third-highest percentage in the state -- work in the canning and food-processing industry. The district's portion of Modesto includes the headquarters of Foster Farms Dairy, the largest privately owned dairy in California, as well as a full-service plant. National companies such as Del Monte and Frito-Lay also have facilities here. Hometown Gallo Winery is the nation's second-largest wine producer.

Although dominated by agriculture, the district also takes in the diverse and Democratic central portion of the port city of Stockton (shared with the 11th), which is a transportation hub on the San Joaquin River. More than half of Stockton's residents live in the 18th. In 2005, the University of California opened a Merced campus, the system's 10th and the first U.S. public research university to be built in the 21st century.

The area has a long history of sending Democrats to Congress, having done so for decades, and Democrat Jerry Brown carried the 18th by more than 11 percentage points in the 2010 gubernatorial election. Hispanics now enjoy a majority of the district's population, and more than 15 percent of voting-age residents are naturalized citizens. Stockton has one of the largest Sikh populations in the United States.

Major Industry

Agriculture, wine, food processing


Stockton (pt.), 154,589; Modesto (pt.), 128,394; Merced, 78,958; Ceres (pt.), 42,591; Los Banos, 35,972


Stockton hosts an annual asparagus festival, during which more than 40,000 pounds of asparagus are consumed.




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