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Area Legislators Keep State, Federal Seats
Incumbent Congressman Josh Harder, pictured during a press conference on election night, thanked voters for returning him to his 10th District seat, defeating Republican challenger Ted Howze. Angelina Martin/The Times

Residents in the Oakdale-Riverbank-Escalon area will continue to have bipartisan representation at the state and federal level following the Nov. 3 election, as both of the incumbents representing Congressional District 10 and State Assembly District 12 held on to their seats.

Rep. Josh Harder will serve a second term in Congress after defeating his Republican challenger, former Turlock City Council member and veterinarian Ted Howze, in a race that was called in the Democrat’s favor by the Associated Press late Tuesday night. Assemblyman Heath Flora, a Republican from Ripon, is looking forward to a third term following his victory over Democrat Paul Akinjo, a Lathrop City Council member.

Harder’s district includes all of Stanislaus County and part of San Joaquin County.

“It has been the honor of my life to serve my hometown in Congress the past two years — and it is just as much of an honor to receive the support of our community once again. We proved that we can get more done by finding common ground than fighting each other,” Harder said in offering thanks to the voters. “I promise to build on the work we got done over the past two years to bring more water funding and good-paying jobs to the Valley and cutting the costs of health care while protecting everyone’s access. Once again, thank you to the people of the Central Valley for putting your faith in me. I won’t let you down.”

Harder emerged victorious in a race that saw his campaign raise $7 million compared to Howze’s $1.5 million — $740,000 of which Howze loaned to his own campaign.

Flora, who was first elected to the State Assembly in 2016, was also appreciative of the voter support that will send him back to Sacramento.

“I am honored the people of the 12th Assembly District have given our team another clear and strong vote of confidence to represent them for another term. I am privileged to continue to be their voice in Sacramento,” Flora said. “Public safety, local control and common-sense reforms will continue to be our legislative focus. Here at home we will continue to provide for our constituents who need help locally or with the state government. I look forward to continuing to fight for the Valley’s interests, defending our economy, and protecting local jobs.”

Though there are still votes to count – with elections offices continuing that effort – Flora’s campaign spokesperson Josh Whitfield remained confident his candidate will maintain the lead.

“We are very pleased with the strong margins for us in the vote count. In such a partisan election environment, this solid victory is a strong vote of confidence in Heath’s leadership,” Whitfield said.

In Escalon, meanwhile, vote totals have not been finalized in the race for seats on the Escalon Consolidated Fire Protection District Board, though leading the way were Mark Paulsen and Terry Pinheiro, both polling more votes than incumbent Josh Cummings. Fire officials said they were waiting for an update from the San Joaquin County Registrar of Voters Office before a determination can be made on who will serve on the fire board.

Melinda Dubroff, San Joaquin County’s Registrar of Voters, said voter turnout was high in the 2020 election.

“American citizens across the country, deployed overseas and living across the globe, exercised their right to vote in striking numbers. That was clearly evident in San Joaquin County where citizens participated in democracy at historic levels with more than 143,761 ballots validated and reported on election night,” she said. “Those votes included Vote-by-Mail ballots and in-person votes received at the Voter Service Centers. So far, this is 39.3 percent of votes processed to date out of our total number of registered voters, but there are many more ballots to count.”

At this time, Dubroff said they still have ballots to count, and expect to certify the results by Dec. 3, 2020.

For the latest results, visit


Times Editor Marg Jackson contributed to this report.