ENG: Jeffrey John "Jeff" Denham (born July 29, 1967) is the U.S. Representative for California's 10th congressional district. He is a member of the Republican Party.
He previously served two terms in the California State Senate, representing the 12th District, which includes Madera, Merced, Monterey, San Benito and Stanislaus counties. Denham was the second lowest paid State Senator because he refused pay raises. Denham announced he would be a candidate for California's Lieutenant Governor in 2010 but dropped those plans when Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed Republican State Senator Abel Maldonado to fill the vacancy left by former Lieutenant Governor John Garamendi's election to Congress. Denham subsequently running for the State Assembly but dropped those plans as well when he was asked by retiring Republican Congressman George Radanovich to run for his open seat in California's 19th congressional district in December of 2009.
Early life, education, and agriculture career
Enlisting at the age of 17, Denham served on active and reserve status for 16 years in the United States Air Force and is a recipient of the meritorious service medal for his service during Operation Desert Storm (Iraq) and Operation Restore Hope (Somalia).
In 2006, he was honored by the California National Guard with its highest military award, the "Order of California" service award, for distinguished service. After graduating from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, Denham went into the agriculture industry.
2000 run for State Assembly
Denham ran for the California State Assembly against Salinas City Councilman Simon Salinas as a political novice. Salinas spent $1,270,380 and Denham spent $1,109,466 which combined was one of the more expensive Assembly races of the year. Salinas defeated Denham by more than 11,000 votes, or almost 9%.
California Senate - Elections - 2002
Denham ran for the State Senate in 2002 against former state Assemblyman Rusty Areias. The election occurred on November 5, 2002 but the close vote count caused the lead in the race to go back and forth for several days.
The race featured many negative political ads and those negative political ads appear to have allowed Jeff Denham to win against the more experienced Areias.
The race was one of the most expensive legislative races in state history with over $6,300,000 dollars spent. The Denham campaign attacked Areias for outstanding tax liens. Republicans funded waves of campaign literature and television commercials renewing years-old charges against Areias on a variety of subjects. The campaign ran countless commercials showing Areias with nurses, senior citizens and other supporters, but the campaign also publicized Denham's past arrests.
Denham won the race 48%-47%, or by 1,843 votes. Denham managed a close victory in a seat where the Democrats had an almost 15% advantage in registration.
Denham won re-election to a second term with 58% of the vote.
2008 Recall attempt
During the 2007 Budget Crisis in California, Denham was the Republican that Democrats targeted to gain the necessary votes to pass the budget.
In response to Denham's refusal to vote for the budget on the grounds that it wasn't balanced, Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata demoted Denham from his position as Vice Chairman of the Senate Governmental Organization Committee. At the same time, Perata started working with local Democratic parties in the Central Valley to create a petition to start a recall election against Denham. The California Secretary of State certified the petition, and its proponents collected 50,000 signatures before the deadline in February 2008.
On the June 3, 2008 election, the voters opposed the recall by a 76%-24% margin, and Denham continued as State Senator for California's 12th State Senate District.
Denham has focused his efforts on education, agriculture and job creation. He has also been a leading voice in the effort to reduce government waste in Sacramento, better utilize state surplus assets and crack down on sexual predators.
Known for his tough stance against raising taxes, Denham has received several honors including "Legislator of the Year" by the California Small Business Association, an A+ score from the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and a 100% perfect score with the California Taxpayers’ Association for his voting record.
In addition, Denham was recognized by the California State Sheriffs' Association as "Legislator of the Year" in 2004 and "Outstanding Legislator" in 2005, and received the California Teachers Association's "Gold Award" in 2005.
U.S. House of Representatives - Elections - 2010
In December 2009, seven-term U.S.
Congressman George Radanovich announced he would retire due to health reasons. He endorsed Denham as his successor even though he lives outside the district (his home in Merced is located in the neighboring 18th District, represented by Democrat Dennis Cardoza) and his state senate district includes only two counties in the congressional district.
In the Republican primary he defeated Fresno mayor Jim Patterson, former U.S. Congressman Richard Pombo, and Fresno City Councilman Larry Westerlund 36%-31%-21%-12%. Denham won largely by running up the votes in Stanislaus and Tuolomne counties, as well as Radanovich's home in Mariposa County.
In the 2010 general election, Denham defeated Democrat Loraine Goodwin with 65% of the vote.
After redistricting, he decided to run in the newly redrawn California's 10th congressional district. Former NASA astronaut José Hernández has decided to run in the district.
Both of them live outside of the CD. The 10th is a swing district with a 25% Hispanic voting age population. Barack Obama would have carried it by 3 points in the 2008 presidential election, while Jerry Brown would have lost it by 5 points in the 2010 gubernatorial election.
In the 112th Congress, Denham voted with his party 95% of the time.
He owns and operates Denham Plastics, the leading supplier of reusable containers in the agriculture industry. He and his family also farm almonds at their ranch in Merced County. Denham has amassed a large fortune from the success of his business ventures.
Denham and his wife Sonia have two children, Austin and Samantha.
January 24, 2013