Harder’s challengers line up on both sides


Two Republicans and two Democrats are among the first candidates to announce that they are challenging Rep. Josh Harder for his Congressional seat in November 2022 – a task that will require defeating the Democrat’s insurmountable pile of cash.

The fact that Harder’s District 10 re-election campaign has more than $ 5 million in cash hasn’t scared off opponents, with four candidates running to the polls in 2022. Two of them are Democrats, the eternal candidate Michael Barkley of Manteca and Angelina Sigala, a first candidate of Modesto.

Harder’s Republican challengers are also making their first foray into politics. Jack Griffith is a 39-year-old Beyer High School graduate and U.S. Army veteran. Simon Aslanpour is a business owner from San José who bought a house in Turlock in June 2020 and divides his time between the two zip codes.

Both said they were tired of being left behind by those in power.

After setting up a non-profit organization to help local veterans with legal consultations in 2016, Griffith said he frequently seeks help from local politicians, but is often left hanging.

“It really disappointed me, and it got me to the point where I realized politicians aren’t there to solve problems,” Griffith said. “They are just there to move the problems, because they solve them, why do we need them? “

As a Purple Heart recipient, Griffith knows the hardships of returning home after war and the suffering that often accompanies it, such as post-traumatic stress disorder. He would like to focus on the rights of veterans if elected, as well as issues such as the overtime tax, which he sees as harmful to business, and immigration reform that includes a path achievable towards citizenship for immigrants.

Aslanpour is an immigrant who came to the United States from Iran in 2000. A conservative Christian, he does not like the way the government has responded to the pandemic with control. He moved to Turlock during the pandemic and was drawn to the area because of its Assyrian population and “conservative views”.

“It made me want to live there more than I lived in the Bay Area, so I decided to run for this district because I think the people of District 10 deserve a conservative voice,” Aslanpour said.

His main issues are immigration (he wants to make sure people come here legally), fighting crime and ensuring the integrity of elections.

Both candidates are aware of the incumbent MP’s campaign war chest; the Democrat raised nearly $ 2 million in the first half of 2021 according to data from the Federal Election Commission. Although there are still 16 months until next year’s midterm elections, the two popular campaigns will have to start knocking on doors now if they are to make an impact.

“I’m going to have to talk to people,” Griffith said. “I’m going to have to use social media to the best of my ability because as much as I’m lucky there’s no way I can take $ 5 million out of this district to compete. Some people listen to the radio and hear the same commercials all the time, but having the person in front of you is a bigger advantage so I’m going to be doing more of the walking and I’m going to be as transparent as possible.

Aslanpour said that while “money is very important,” winning also means “what you do for the people in your district. He added, “I hope to make my voice heard and let the people of this district decide which voice they want in the House.”

Harder was elected to Congress in 2018 after defeating incumbent Republican Jeff Denham. He continued in 2020 to defeat Republican Ted Howze with a result of 55.2% to 44.8%.

The 10th district encompasses all of Stanislaus County as well as parts of San Joaquin County, including Ripon, Escalon and Manteca.

Manteca’s Mike Barkley and Modesto’s Angelina Sigala will both challenge Harder as Democratic candidates, although Barkley has said he doesn’t plan to appear on the ballot because Harder has too many funds behind him. The veteran and Navy lawyer first ran for Congress in 2012 and led unsuccessful campaigns in 2014, 2016, 2018 and 2020.

Despite his intention not to appear on the ballot, Barkley said he would campaign again “just in case” Harder withdraws from the race. He describes himself as a progressive Democrat with a platform that includes Medicare for All, Tackling Climate Change, Tackling Water Shortages, Black Lives Matter, and the repeal of the Second Amendment.

“It wasn’t about me. These are the proposals for my platform listed below, ”Barkley said on his website. “The past few years have been dark for many in this country; implementing proposals like these will help.

In the 2020 primary election, Barkley came in fourth behind Republican candidate Bob Elliott with 5,561 votes, or 3.5 percent of the vote. Harder and Republican Ted Howze were the top two voters, respectively, and qualified for the general election.

This year, Harder has more than $ 5 million in cash, according to data from the Federal Election Commission. Barkley made just over $ 450 on the most recent deposits.

Sigala is also on the run, another progressive who felt compelled to run for Congress after spending years as a vaccine advocate and infectious disease expert following her sister’s death from swine flu in 2015. She said that while she thinks Harder does a great job as a congressman, she believes her connection to the community and her dedication to transparency will make her an accessible figure for those looking for opportunities. answers to their problems.

She hopes to tackle homelessness head-on if elected, she said, as she has seen firsthand the impact the problem has on her community of Modesto and believes veterans in the area need more help than they get.

“I have experienced everything that the people experience in this county, so I know firsthand if I can make these changes,” Sigala said. “I know people will believe in me and vote for me. “

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