Politics & Government

GOP candidate in District 10 attacked for ‘extreme’ stance on immigration

Josh Harder, left, and Ted Howze
Josh Harder, left, and Ted Howze

Democrats unleashed online political ads charging that Republican candidate Ted Howze’s views on immigration are too extreme.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is piping the social media ads in English and Spanish to voters in the Northern San Joaquin Valley.

Howze is one of the GOP hopefuls looking to unseat Rep. Josh Harder, D-Turlock, who’s seeking re-election for the first time after his upset victory over Jeff Denham in 2018.

The ads charge that “our dreamers are bravely pursuing the American Dream for their families, but Ted Howze thinks they’re criminals. It’s clear he’s far too extreme for the Central Valley.”

Last month, Harder’s campaign team pointed to a Howze tweet in January on migration from Central America to the U.S. border. At 2:17 a.m. Jan. 16, Howze tweeted the “mass migrations are being driven northward from Central America by murderous drug lords, gangs and political corruption. We are witnessing a daily invasion across our southern border while Democrats say the crisis is ‘manufactured.’”

Harder’s campaign suggested that Howze’s tweet was spreading hateful anti-immigrant rhetoric.

Howze, a veterinarian, continues to be deemed a threat to Harder’s re-election campaign after the challenger’s surprise finish in the June 2018 primary. Howze, a former Turlock councilman, finished third in the June 2018 primary behind former Congressman Jeff Denham and Harder, both of whom advanced to a November 2018 nail-biter won by Harder.

San Joaquin County Supervisor Bob Elliott and Marla Livengood are other Republicans expected to compete in the March 2020 primary.

Demos took notice last month when Howze put another $300,000 of his own money in his campaign fund, bringing his midyear total to $675,000.

The Democratic Party attack this week focuses on a Roll Call article on Howze’s performance in the June 2018 primary. In the article, Howze said he ran to the right of Denham on immigration. Denham and some other colleagues had broken ranks after President Trump eliminated the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals initiative, which provided work permits and protections for undocumented immigrants, or Dreamers, who were brought here as children by their parents.

Some conservatives approved when Howze criticized Denham’s efforts to force a vote on immigration legislation. Denham wrote a bill to give Dreamers enlisting in military service a path to citizenship; the legislation, called the ENLIST Act, was reintroduced by Harder last month.

In the Roll Call article, Howze said dreamers who registered under DACA should be eligible for citizenship. But those who never registered should not be eligible because they are likely criminals, Howze was paraphrased as saying.

“Howze’s stance on Dreamers shows how out-of-step he is with the values of Central Valley voters,” DCCC Spokesman Andy Orellana said. According to the spokesman, a candidate with Howze’s “extreme and Trumpian anti-immigrant views” is in no position to lead in the Central Valley.

Howze was offered a chance to discuss the criticism and also define his current positions on immigration and topics such as health care. Depicting himself as a fairly moderate Republican in the Roll Call piece, Howze was quoted as saying he didn’t believe Trump was a role model for his children or himself.

Howze released a video this week outlining his position on Dreamers. Asked to comment on a “clean Dream Act”, Howze, speaking at a May 8, 2018 town hall, said he would grant protections for the 800,000 Dreamers who registered under DACA, so they are not deported.

Following efforts to secure the border, DACA registrants could take their place in line to apply for citizenship, Howze said. Those not registered would have no rights and would have to leave the country and start over, Howze said on the video.

Howze did not comment on the Jan. 16 tweet that was lambasted by Harder.

Debbie Martinez, a student advocate for We R La Raza, said Dreamers were innocent children when brought to the United States by their parents. “They are not criminals,” Martinez said. The Modesto resident said the 10th Congressional district needs a political leader who recognizes the human rights and educational needs of Dreamers.

“Josh Harder has given his ear, his shoulder, his time and effort,” Martinez said.

Among those endorsing Howze are Modesto Mayor Ted Brandvold, Ceres Mayor Chris Vierra, Waterford Mayor Mike Van Winkle, who’s a candidate for county supervisor, San Joaquin County Supervisor Tom Patti and John Walker, president of the Modesto City Schools board.