With a hotly contested race for the Valley’s 10th Congressional District, Republicans are banding together as House Speaker Paul Ryan came to Modesto on Thursday, Oct. 27 to spur local campaign staff and supporters for incumbent Congressman Jeff Denham.
Denham faces challenger Michael Eggman for the second time in two years as both battle it out as Denham tries for a fourth consecutive term representing constituents of the Central Valley congressional district. The 10th District represents Stanislaus County and southern San Joaquin County, encompassing the communities of Oakdale, Riverbank and Escalon.
Introduced to a standing room only crowd by Oregon Congressman Greg Walden, who chairs the National Republican Congressional Committee, Ryan encouraged and thanked Denham’s campaign team for their involvement.
“In public life, in government and politics … there are different types of people; and in congress we have show horses and workhorses,” the speaker of the House from Wisconsin said, categorizing Denham as a workhorse who solves problems without fanfare. “Jeff Denham is already one of our quarterbacks on fixing some of your biggest problems here.”
Ryan went on to cite Denham’s action in congress looking after his constituents in the areas of water, farms, and infrastructure.
The speaker made a special point to compliment Denham for his action supporting local National Guardsmen and getting the Department of Defense to suspend its efforts to get back bonuses paid out for reenlistments.
As he addressed the packed room at Denham’s headquarters, Ryan identified the Republican Party’s plans of welfare to work, national security, patient centered healthcare, overhauling the tax code, and governmental regulations stagnating job growth.
“The last thing you want to do coming out of school is to come home to a poor job market that is really weak,” Ryan said to the staff of young adults working the cluster of over 40 phones.
“You know, this Constitution is a really special thing – It’s got this beautiful principle called self-determination, self-government,” Ryan said. “Let’s restore self-government and determination by restoring our Constitution.”
Kara Hoekstra, 18, of Oakdale, said she got involved with Denham’s campaign after hearing of openings from her ag teacher and a desire to work in politics.
“It was a great honor to have the speaker of the House show up today,” Hoekstra, a high school senior, said. “An opportunity like this was too good to pass up. It was amazing.”
Denham addressed the media afterwards, stating he invited Ryan to the area to give him an understanding of the challenges residents in his district were facing.
When pressed about his campaign, and some of the negative ads that were being aired, Denham said he wanted to avoid any “personality conflicts” and would rather recognize the support and backing he’s received from public safety organizations, education and labor unions, and farm bureaus.
“It’s ridiculous to criticize Michael Eggman for something he should embrace and try to do himself,” Denham said. “Nancy Pelosi is trying to buy an election. It doesn’t work and it’s not going to work here.”