Getting Out The Vote in Modesto

Democrat Josh Harder ran for U.S. Congress in California’s 10th District in the 2018 midterm elections. I supported this amazing progressive leader by donating, phone banking and canvassing for him all the way up to Election Day.

Thousands of volunteers came together in Modesto, California to get out the vote for Democratic candidate Josh Harder on the last weekend before the 2018 midterm election. Josh Harder ran for a U.S. House seat in California’s 10th District and is one of the young democratic leaders who show real promise for fighting the conservative regime that is harming the Central Valley and our country. 

Josh greeted us with a rousing speech, shown in the video below.

Watch this short video of Democratic candidate Josh Harder, who spoke to a thousand volunteers at his campaign field office in Modesto.

It was great to hear Josh tell us about his progressive platform: Medicare for all, investments in jobs and public schools, fair and humane immigration reform, and clean water in the Central Valley. Learn more about his priorities

Josh Harder greeted us in person and made us feel welcome in his campaign, getting us all fired up to get out the vote for democracy in the Central Valley.  

I have met Josh a couple times over the past few months and think he’s a true democrat, who will work for the people, not for big business — unlike his opponent, Republican Jeff Denham. He reminds me of his mentor, Barack Obama: he’s honest, kind, a good listener, and demonstrates a deep understanding of the issues, as well as great problem-solving and communication skills.

My canvassing partners Karen and Arlene came from different parts of the Bay Area to get out the vote and help win another house seat in this swing district.See more photos.

This was also a great opportunity to connect with many old and new friends, who drove hundreds of miles to help this exceptional candidate. Together, we canvassed all over Modesto and its suburbs, knocking on over hundreds of thousands of doors in just a few days, breaking new records for civic engagement in this sleepy Central Valley farming community.

We walked through diverse Modesto suburbs for several days, knocking on hundreds of doors to ask folks if they needed help voting in this critical election.

In the process, we met with many voters from over a dozen different ethnic groups. Most of the folks we talked to said they had already voted for Josh or were about to take the whole family to the polls, to vote for the full Democratic ticket. 

A Modesto voter signs her ballot, so we can take it to the polls for her.

Many people we spoke to were fired up to vote Republicans out of office, and particularly concerned about the GOP’s attacks on health care. Three of them gave us their ballots, so we could take them to the polls for them.

We knocked on over a hundred doors on the last day before the election, with my friends Howard Rheingold and Susan Barbour.

On the last day, we knocked on a hundred more doors in Ceres, getting out the vote for Josh in our VoteMobile (shown below).  

Our VoteMobile and our fearless canvassing crew, with Howard Rheingold and Susan Barbour. 

This whole experience made us feel hopeful about democracy— a fragile social contract they needs to be actively fed by connecting with voters as we just did. We hope that together we can help win back the House in CA-10, and regain control of a U.S. Congress that has lost its moral sense under Republican rule.

Activism helps build community and is good for the soul. 

This outreach gave us a chance to connect with voters outside of our bubble, as well as get more involved in community action — first through phone banking with our friends at Democracy Action Marin, and then canvassing with the help of partners like MVCAN and Swing Left. We’re very grateful to them all.

California’s 10th congressional district election was an important 2018 midterm race for the U.S. House of Representatives for a number of reasons: 1) this race was identified as a key battleground for democratic control of the U.S. House in the 116th Congress (Source: Ballotpedia); 2) it triggered an unprecedented level of civic engagement, with tens of thousands of Bay Area and local volunteers phone banking or canvassing for Josh Harder, in part because California 10 is the swing district closest to San Francisco (Sources: New York Times, SwingLeft); 3) Josh Harder represents a new model for candidates from the business world — smart, early-in-their-career moderates who are willing to give up making big money to run for office (Source: Recode).

UPDATE 1: As of Friday, Nov. 9 at 5pm, it appears that Josh Harder is now leading Jeff Denham by nearly 2 points (50.95% vs. 49.05%), ahead by 3.3k votes after trailing by -1.1k votes last Wednesday. This is based on combined results from Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties, as shown in this tweeted graphic by California Target Book (see above). 

This unofficial result is confirmed by Stanislaus County’s latest tally as of Nov. 9 at 5pm, showing 72k votes for Harder vs. 69k votes for Denham. 
As predicted, this reversal is largely due to mail-in ballots: 54k Harder vs. 50K Denham. 

UPDATE 2: On Tuesday, Nov. 13 at 6pm, the Associated Press declared that Josh Harder has just won the election in California’s 10th District. With votes continuing to be counted, Harder’s edge had grown after Denham grabbed a slim lead on Election Day. After the latest update, Harder had a 4,919-vote lead out of about 185,000 votes counted, a margin too large for the congressman to overcome with remaining votes.

Woohoo! Way to go Josh and all the tens of thousands of volunteers and staff which made this possible!

It was great to work with so many dedicated activists to phone bank and/or canvass for Josh Harder this year. Thank you for your service — and for being such wonderful partners. 🙂

I think Josh will do a lot to improve the lives of people in the Central Valley, who have suffered too long under a pro-business Republican representative.

Just as importantly, this local election can ripple all the way up to the U.S. House of Representatives to bring more sanity in our country — and around the world. 

Vive la démocratie!

Check these related links:

• See more photos of Getting Out The Vote in Modesto.

• Watch the video of Josh Harder’s GOTV speech.  

• Learn more about Josh Harder

• Check our GOTV team plan in Modesto

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