Michael Eggman brings a moderate Democrat’s voice to the June 7 primary, where he hopes to get a November rematch against Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Turlock.
Republican candidate Robert Hodges casts himself as the “true conservative” alternative to Denham. The other Democrat, Michael Barkley, says he is a social liberal who would be careful with taxpayer dollars.
The 10th Congressional District, which takes in Stanislaus County and southern San Joaquin County, could be one to watch in 2016. The GOP had a slim edge in voter registration as of April 8 – 38.8 percent to 37.1 percent for Democrats.
Another 19 percent had no party preference but could play a key role in the outcome. So could voter enthusiasm, or maybe lack of it, for the presidential candidates at the top of each ticket.
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The top two finishers in the congressional primary, regardless of party, will advance to November. Denham and Eggman are considered strong favorites.
Eggman, a commercial beekeeper and almond grower near Turlock, lost to Denham by 56 percent to 44 percent in the 2014 general election. He has the backing of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which dubbed the seat “a prime pickup opportunity.”
Barkley, a Manteca resident running in his third straight primary, has training in law and accounting but does not have current licenses to practice. He also has worked in data processing and owns a Glenn County ranch with his siblings.
Hodges grows almonds and feed crops near Denair and does custom farming for other nut growers. He is a board member with the Denair Unified School District.
More on the challengers:
The candidate is the son of a mother born in Mexico and a father with roots in the Dust Bowl. His sister, Susan Talamantes Eggman, is a Democrat representing the Stockton area in the state Assembly.
Michael Eggman faulted Denham for being more in line with billionaire Donald Trump, the likely GOP presidential nominee, than Valley residents who are struggling.
It’s no secret that the middle class was built through good union jobs in the ’50s and ’60s.
Michael Eggman, Democratic candidate
“The middle class has taken a hit,” Eggman said at a recent forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters. “It’s no secret that the middle class was built through good union jobs in the ’50s and ’60s.”
Eggman said he favors an “all-of-the-above” approach to water, including increased storage, groundwater recharge, desalinization and efficient irrigation.
The candidate said he has “serious concerns” about the state’s high-speed rail project, which is over budget and different than what voters approved. He supports extension to Stanislaus County of the Altamont Corridor Express, which runs from Stockton to the south Bay Area.
Eggman said he supports the right to own guns but favors “common-sense” laws that keep them from criminals and mentally ill people.
He endorses immigration reform that provides a path to citizenship for law-abiding people while also boosting the farm labor pool and border security.
Eggman said Denham, who also grows almonds, has devoted more attention to Washington, D.C., than to the needs of the 10th.
“I am an honest-to-goodness farmer,” Eggman said. “I don’t just put it on a (campaign) sign and pretend it’s so.”
Hodges said he would slash federal spending to reduce the federal deficit, while supporting gun rights and opposing abortion.
“I’m running to bring a true conservative voice back to this Valley,” he said.
Hodges supports increased water storage in reservoirs and aquifers, along with desalination plants on both coasts that could boost supplies in the Valley and other drought-stressed regions.
He opposes high-speed rail, which he said is far too expensive, but supports the ACE extension.
I’m running to bring a true conservative voice back to this Valley.
Robert Hodges, Republican candidate
The candidate endorses a wall along the border with Mexico, along with a means for legal immigrants to get through. He also pledged to defend the Second Amendment.
“The only people that need gun control in this world are criminals,” he said.
Hodges opposes trade agreements that he said have allowed businesses to take advantage of low-wage labor in other countries while placing high tariffs on U.S. products. He urges tax breaks to boost the Valley economy.
“We have to give businesses an incentive to come here, stay here, create jobs here,” he said.
Hodges calls for an end to funding of Planned Parenthood, part of his anti-abortion stance, and for ending the federal role in education.
Barkley describes himself as a social liberal and fiscal conservative. His campaign stands out for the highly detailed list of positions on his website – hundreds of ideas on the economy, health care and more.
Barkley would shore up Social Security by increasing the cap on income taxed to help fund the program, while returning the retirement age to 65. He would fund health care under a “Medicare for all” model that goes beyond the Affordable Care Act.
The candidate supports the rights of workers to form unions and bargain for better pay. He would boost subsidies for small businesses and give domestic companies a preference in bidding for federal contracts. He calls for major investment in roads, rail, water, energy and other infrastructure.
Every civilized country in the world has solved this (gun) problem.
Michael Barkley, Democratic candidate
Barkley called for much stronger controls on guns, which he said are too easy to get.
“Every civilized country in the world has solved this problem,” he said.
Barkley said he can use his legal training in writing legislation and his accounting experience in handling budgets and financial reports. He also noted his work in data processing.
“These disciplines fit together – words, numbers, data – the core of the congressional obligation,” he said.
John Holland: 209-578-2385
Occupation: Inactive licenses to practice law and accounting; worked in data processing and co-owner of Glenn County ranch
Political experience: Ran for House seat in 2012 and 2014
Money raised: $12,755 as of March 31
Occupation: Agricultural container business, almond grower
Political experience: U.S. House of Representatives since 2010; state senator, 2002-10
Money raised: $1.7 million as of March 31
Occupation: Beekeeper, almond grower
Political experience: Ran for House seat in 2014
Money raised: $540,823 as of March 31
Occupation: Almond and feed crop grower, custom farming
Political experience: Denair Unified School District board since 2009
Money raised: None reported on Federal Election Commission website