TURLOCK — A beekeeper who is the younger brother of a Democratic state legislator has announced plans to run against GOP Rep. Jeff Denham next year.
Turlock Democrat Michael Eggman, whose sister is Stockton Assemblywoman Susan Eggman, has managed finances for his family's Turlock farm for 10 years. In a news release about his candidacy, he emphasized his longtime ties to communities in the 10th Congressional District and his experience as a farmer.
"Farmers, small businesses and our valley families are hurting and we are really disgusted about the inability of our elected leaders to work together on the issues facing us," he said in a statement. "I'm not a politician, I'm a small family farmer so people will know where I stand and can trust that I'll put our communities first."
Denham, a former state legislator, defeated Democrat Jose Hernandez, who was considered a strong recruit by many political observers, by about five percentage points in 2012, a year that delivered victories to California Democrats in several other swing districts in the state.
Still, Democrats believe a slight registration advantage and winning performance by President Barack Obama in the district, which covers all of Stanislaus and part of San Joaquin counties, put the seat in play. The National Republican Congressional Committee recently added the GOP congressman to its incumbent protection program for the 2014 election.
Denham's camp didn't seem too concerned Tuesday. "Jeff was only CA Rep on Dem target list in 2012 who didn't lose," Denham adviser Dave Gilliard tweeted. "If they cant beat him in 12, they cant beat him."