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13th Congressional District turning into battleground race
Gray versus Duarte
Adam Gray and John Duarte are competing to fill California's 13th Congressional District seat.

Due to California’s newly redrawn congressional districts, the city of Ceres will be represented in Washington by a different congressman – in the 13th district.

With the midterm election about three weeks away, the race in the 13th district likely will come down to the wire. That race is one of many across the country garnering national attention as the Republicans try to wrest control of the House of Representatives from Democrats.

As it stands now, the race between Assemblyman Adam Gray, D-Merced, and Republican businessman John Duarte is nearly a toss-up.

The Cook Political Report, one of the most respected political magazines in the country, categorizes races into three categories: Likely Democrat/Republican, leans Democrat/Republican, or toss-up Democrat/Republican.

Cook lists the race in the 13th as a toss-up for the Democrat, meaning it’s leaning ever so slightly in Gray’s favor.

Both candidates seem to be on equal financial footing as the race enters the home stretch.

According to the latest campaign finance data released by the Federal Election Commission, Duarte has a slight edge in fundraising. As of the last reporting, Duarte has raised $1,276,117, with $722,890 coming from individuals, $86,700 from Political Action Committees, and $440,000 coming from the candidate himself. Gray, meanwhile, has raised $951,716. Of that, $747,316 was from individual donors, and $204,400 from PACs.

Duarte, who is president of his family’s nursery in Hughson, listed cash disbursements of $903,450, leaving his campaign with $372,668 on hand. Gray, who has been the 21st district’s assemblyman since 2012, listed disbursements of $550,135, leaving the campaign with $401,581. 

Duarte lists debts of $10,136, while Gray lists $6,418.

Endorsements for the candidates have mostly fallen along political lines, however, Gray recently gained the endorsements of three Republican sheriffs: Jeff Dirkse in Stanislaus County, Vern Warnke in Merced County and Margaret Mims in Fresno County.

Redistricting placed most of the eastern half of Stanislaus County, including Hughson, Waterford, Hickman and Oakdale, into the 5th Congressional District. The exception is the top pointy portion of Stanislaus County with its rural areas around the Woodward Reservoir, and Eugene, will be in the 9th Congressional District.

Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Elk Grove, appears to be in a strong position against Democratic challenger Mike Barkley in the 5th Congressional district.

McClintock, whose political career stretches back 30 years, has served in both houses of the California Legislature and ran for governor in the 2003 recall election and for lieutenant governor in 2006. He is currently the representative from California’s 4th congressional district.

McClintock has raised $1,192,804, with $820,856 coming from individuals and $195,385 from PACs. 

Meanwhile, McClintock’s opponent, Democrat Mike Barkley, has raised just over $40,000, with the vast majority of that sum coming from the candidate himself. 

Rep. Josh Harder, D-Turlock, Ceres’ current representative in Washington, is running for a seat in the 9th congressional district — north of Turlock — against Republican Tom Patti, a member of the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors.

Harder has a massive fundraising advantage over his opponent, collecting $4,428,214 from individuals and more than $500,000 from PACs, while Patti has receipts of about $750,000 combined from individual donors and PACs. Patti’s campaign lists more than $15,000 in debts while Harder has none.

Mike Barkley and Tom McClintock
Democrat Mike Barkley and incumbent Rep. Tom McClintock, a Republican, are running against each other to represent the 5th Congressional District.