Democrats Pick Up Another California Seat With Denham’s Loss

AP calls Central Valley race for Josh Harder, one week after Election Day

Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Calif., has lost his re-election race to Democrat Josh Harder. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Jeff Denham has become the 24th House Republican to lose re-election this year, falling to Democrat Josh Harder in California’s 10th District one week after Election Day.

With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Harder led the four-term incumbent 51 percent to 49 percent when The Associated Press called the race.

In a statement, Harder, an investor, thanked Denham for his service in Congress and in the Air Force, as well as those who supported the challenger’s campaign.

“Washington is broken because our leaders have put party over country — I pledge that I will always put this community before anything in Washington,” he said.

Denham’s loss brings the total Republican losses to 36, including GOP-held open seats that flipped to Democrats. Denham was one of 25 Republicans running in districts that backed Hillary Clinton in 2016. Clinton carried his Central Valley seat by 3 points.

Denham had a reputation among Republicans as an incumbent with a strong brand in his district. The 10th District has a sizable Latino population, and Denham had been one of the leaders of the unsuccessful effort to force action to protect immigrants brought to the country illegally as children.

Harder sharply criticized Denham for voting for the GOP plan to repeal much of the 2010 health care law, as well as the Republican tax overhaul. 

Denham, in turn, attacked Harder as an outsider to the district, labeling him “Bay Area Harder.” Harder lived in San Francisco for several months before moving back to the district (where he grew up) to run for Congress. 


Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone or your Android.