Josh Harder elected in Central Valley congressional district


Democratic Rep. Josh Harder won election Tuesday to a Stockton-centered congressional district, beating Republican Tom Patti, a San Joaquin County supervisor and businessman.

Harder, who represents a neighboring district, stressed his independence from his party within the Central Valley race, which despite the world’s blue tilt was amongst California’s best congressional contests.

“I’m incredibly honored our community has put their faith in me once more,” Harder said in a written statement. “There’s an enormous amount of labor that should get done, and I really imagine if we deal with common sense solutions we will get prices down, protect our water, and keep our community protected. From the underside of my heart, thanks. I won’t allow you to down.”

Patti noted that he was exponentially outspent and accused Democrats of lying about his record, but he said he accepted the election result.

“That is democracy and we move on,” Patti said in a text message, adding that he looked forward to serving one other two years on the county Board of Supervisors.

Though the Associated Press called the race Tuesday night, official results will take longer.

Each candidates tried to color their rivals as beholden to the extremes of their respective parties, but their behavior and messaging often reflected the moderate views of lots of the region’s voters.

Patti, a former amateur boxer who trained with Mike Tyson, had said he shouldn’t be “a Trumpster.” Harder highlighted his disagreements with the Democratic Party on issues comparable to gas taxes and water. On the ballot, the title he listed was “Agriculture Committeeman,” not a member of Congress.

The ninth Congressional District, altered within the map redrawing following the census, includes much of San Joaquin County, with small bits of Contra Costa and Stanislaus counties.

After the incumbent who lives there decided not to hunt reelection, Harder ran within the friendlier electoral terrain. Democrats have a couple of 15-percentage-point voter-registration advantage over Republicans.

Harder, who grew up within the San Joaquin Valley, worked as an executive at a Silicon Valley enterprise capital firm before moving back to run for Congress. In 2018, he was one among seven Democrats to flip Republican districts in California.

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