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First-term Democratic Rep. Josh Harder is projected to defend his seat from Ted Howze in California’s 10th Congressional District

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First-term Rep. Josh Harder is projected to defend his seat from Republican Ted Howze in California’s 10th Congressional District, according to Decision Desk HQ.

The candidates

Harder, the former vice president of a venture-capital firm, was elected in 2018 after defeating former three-term incumbent, Jeff Denham. He currently sits on the House Committee on Agriculture and the House Committee on Education and Labor.

Howze, Harder’s challenger, previously ran to represent the 10th District but did not make it past the Republican primary. He is a veterinarian, small-business owner, and the former planning commissioner of the city of Turlock. His campaign platform was centered on lowering the cost of medications, funding the police, and supporting 2nd Amendment rights.

Howze came under scrutiny earlier this year when Politico exposed dozens of posts on his Facebook and Twitter accounts expressing bigotry against Muslims, demeaning gun-violence survivors, and spreading conspiracy theories. Howze maintained that he himself did not make the posts and claimed others who had access to his account had posted the messages.

In the wake of the controversy, the campaign arm of House Republicans pulled Howze out of their Young Guns program, and both the chair of the California Republican Party and House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the highest-ranking House Republican, rescinded their endorsements of Howze.

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The district

California’s 10th Congressional District is in the center of the state, in the northern part of the San Joaquin Valley. The district is home to Stanislaus County and a portion of San Joaquin County as well. In 2016, residents of the district voted for Hillary Clinton by 3 points over Donald Trump, in a 49-46% split.

The money race

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Harder raised more than $6.9 million, spent $3.1 million, and had $3.8 million in cash on hand as of October 14, while Howze raised $1.3 million, spent $1.6 million, and had around $67,000 in cash on hand as of October 14.

What experts said

The race between Harder and Howze was rated as “likely Democratic” by The Cook Political Report and “safe Democratic” according to Inside Elections and Sabato’s Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia Center for Politics.

Republican Ted Howze, Harder's opponent, ran for this seat in 2018 but lost in the Republican primary election.

California 10th

7 in 9

Chance the Democrat wins ( 77.5% )

2 in 9

Chance the Republican wins ( 22.5% )

# How the forecast has changed

We’ll be updating our forecasts every time new data is available, every day through Nov. 6.

Chance of winning
Popular vote share

80% CHANCE OF FALLING IN RANGE

# What goes into the

The Classic version of our model projects a race’s outcome by taking a weighted average of polls of a district (if available), polls of similar districts (CANTOR) and non-polling factors (fundamentals). It is then reverted toward a mean based on long-term trends in midterms and presidential approval ratings.

# Latest polls

We’ve collected three polls for the California 10th. We’re adjusting poll results in three ways: Polls of registered voters or all adults are adjusted to a likely-voter basis; older polls are adjusted based on shifts in the generic congressional ballot since the poll was conducted; and polls are adjusted for house effects (the tendency for a firm’s polls to lean toward Democrats or Republicans). Polls with larger sample sizes and those conducted by higher-quality polling agencies are given more weight, as are more recent polls.

RV = Registered voters

LV = likely voters

Our latest coverage

# Similar districts and CANTOR

Our district similarity scores are based on demographic, geographic and political characteristics; if two districts have a score of 100, it means they are perfectly identical. These scores inform a system we use — CANTOR, or Congressional Algorithm using Neighboring Typologies to Optimize Regression — to infer what polling would say in unpolled or lightly polled districts, given what it says in similar districts.

Districts most similar to the California 10th
Sim. score Polling avg.
CA-25 70 R+3.7
CA-22 69 R+9.6
CA-9 67
CA-3 63
NV-4 61 D+3.6
CA-36 60
CA-8 56
CA-23 55
CA-42 55
NM-1 54 D+10.7

# The “fundamentals”

The Classic and Deluxe versions of our model use several non-polling factors to forecast the vote share margin in each district.

# Expert ratings

The Deluxe version of our model calculates an implied margin for each race based on expert race ratings from The Cook Political Report, Inside Elections and Sabato’s Crystal Ball; it then adjusts that margin toward its estimate of the national political environment.

How this forecast works

Nate Silver explains the methodology behind our 2018 midterms forecast. Read more …

The third-party candidates listed represent our best approximation of who will appear on each district’s general election ballot. The candidates listed will update as each race is finalized; some listed candidates may not ultimately qualify for the general election.

This analysis treats currently vacant seats as being held by the party that previously controlled them.

Forecast models by Nate Silver. Design and development by Jay Boice, Emma Brillhart, Aaron Bycoffe, Rachael Dottle, Lauren Eastridge, Ritchie King, Ella Koeze, Andrei Scheinkman, Gus Wezerek and Julia Wolfe. Research by Dustin Dienhart, Andrea Jones-Rooy, Dhrumil Mehta, Mai Nguyen, Nathaniel Rakich, Derek Shan and Geoffrey Skelley. Notice any bugs? Send us an email.

FiveThirtyEight’s predictions for the 2018 House elections in the California 10th district