|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 18th district
January 3, 2003 - August 15, 2012
|Preceded by||Gary Condit|
|Succeeded by||Anna Eshoo|
|Member of the
California State Assembly
from the 26th district
|Preceded by||Sal Cannella|
|Succeeded by||Greg Aghazarian|
March 31, 1959 |
|Spouse(s)||Dr. Kathie McLoughlin|
|Alma mater||California State University, Stanislaus, University of Maryland, College Park|
|Occupation||rancher, small business owner|
Dennis A. Cardoza (born March 31, 1959) was the U.S. Representative for California's 18th congressional district from 2003 to 2012. The district took in a large swath of the Central Valley, from Stockton to Fresno. He is a member of the Democratic Party. On October 20, 2011 he announced he would retire from Congress at the end of 2012.
Early life 
Cardoza was born in Merced, California, of Portuguese ancestry. He grew up in Atwater, California and graduated from Atwater High School. He was educated at the California State University, Stanislaus in Turlock, California then transferred to University of Maryland, College Park. He is a member of Theta Chi Fraternity.
Political career 
Cardoza's interest in public service began in college when he interned on Capitol Hill during the summer of 1979. The first in his family to graduate from college, Cardoza went on to run a successful small business. Cardoza served as a city council member in both Merced and Atwater and was a Member of the California State Assembly from 1996 to 2002. During his six years in the Assembly, he chaired the Rules Committee and helped found the Moderate Democratic Caucus.
Cardoza represented California's 18th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. The seat was previously held by Gary Condit. When Cardoza was starting out in politics, he served as Condit's Chief of Staff while Condit was still in the California Assembly. When Condit's career came under a cloud because of his extramarital affair with murdered intern Chandra Levy, Cardoza ran against him in the 2002 Democratic primary and won. Cardoza then faced Republican State Senator Dick Monteith in the November election. This race was considered to be the only potentially competitive House contest in California; redistricting after the 2000 census gave most of the state's 53 congresspersons safe districts. However, the Democratic-controlled state legislature had been concerned about a growing Republican trend in the 18th even before Condit's career imploded. The district and its predecessors had been in Democratic hands since 1955. The legislature shifted a Republican-leaning portion of eastern Stanislaus County to the heavily Republican 19th District. They replaced it with a mostly Democratic spur in and around Stockton, which gave the district a plurality of Latino voters. Cardoza defeated Monteith, 51 percent to 43 percent. He was reelected four times against only nominal opposition.
Cardoza was considered a conservative Democrat by California standards, which is typical for Democrats from the Central Valley. However, his voting record was slightly more liberal than that of Condit. During the 109th Congress, Cardoza was a co-chair of the Blue Dog Coalition, a group of moderate to conservative House Democrats of which Condit was a founding member. He was a member of the Resources Committee, Agriculture Committee, and International Relations Committee.
For the 112th Congress, Cardoza sat on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, as well as the Agriculture Committee where he was ranking member of the Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Subcommittee. He remained a member of the Blue Dog Coalition, but his co-chairmanship was assumed by Congressman Mike Ross.
Media accounts suggest that Cardoza's decision to retire stemmed from the 2012 redistricting map, which substantially altered his district.
Committee assignments 
- Committee on Agriculture
- Committee on Foreign Affairs
Caucus memberships 
- Congressional Hispanic Caucus
- International Conservation Caucus
- Moderate Democratic Caucus
- Sportsmen's Caucus
- "Citing ‘family needs,’ Rep. Cardoza resigns and joins DC law firm". The Hill. Retrieved 14 August 2012.
- "Distinguished Americans & Canadians of Portuguese Descent". Archived from the original on 2007-12-12. Retrieved 2008-01-09.
- " Condit Loses House Race To Former Aide" by Evelyn Nieves, March 6, 2002. New York Times. Accessed 22 March 2008.
- U.S. Representative Dennis Cardoza official U.S. House site
- Dennis Cardoza Our Congressman official campaign site
- Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Congressional profile at GovTrack
- Congressional profile at OpenCongress
- Financial information (federal office) at the Federal Election Commission
- Financial information (federal office) at OpenSecrets.org
- Staff salaries, trips and personal finance (federal office) at LegiStorm.com
- Voting record at The Washington Post
- Appearances on C-SPAN programs
- Profile at SourceWatch
|California State Assemblyman, 26th District
|United States House of Representatives|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 18th congressional district