Jeff Denham

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Not to be confused with Jeff Dunham.
Jeff Denham
Jeff Denham Official Portrait.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 10th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2013
Preceded by John Garamendi
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 19th district
In office
January 3, 2011 – January 3, 2013
Preceded by George Radanovich
Succeeded by Zoe Lofgren
Member of the California Senate
from the 12th district
In office
December 2, 2002 – December 5, 2010
Preceded by Dick Monteith
Succeeded by Anthony Cannella
Personal details
Born Jeffrey John Denham
(1967-07-29) July 29, 1967 (age 48)
Hawthorne, California[1]
Nationality American
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Sonia Denham[1]
Residence Atwater, California
Alma mater California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo[1]
Profession Politician, businessman
Religion Presbyterian[1]
Awards Meritorious Service Medal
Military service
Allegiance United States
Service/branch  United States Air Force
Air Force Reserve Command emblem U.S. Air Force Reserve
Years of service 1984–1988 (active)
1988–2000 (reserves)
Rank Staff Sergeant
Battles/wars Operation Desert Storm
Operation Restore Hope

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 announced in December 2008 that he would be a candidate for Lieutenant Governor of California in the 2010 election.[2][3] 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.[4][5] Denham subsequently ran 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 2009.[6][7]

Early life, education, and agriculture career[edit]

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[edit]

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.[8] Salinas defeated Denham by more than 11,000 votes, or almost 9%.[9]

California Senate[edit]



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.[10]

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.[11] The race was one of the most expensive legislative races in state history with over $6,300,000 dollars spent.[12] 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.[12]

Denham won the race 48%–47%, or by 1,843 votes.[13][14] Denham managed a close victory in a seat where the Democrats had an almost 15% advantage in registration.[15]


Denham won re-election to a second term with 58% of the vote.[16]

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.


During his time in the state legislature, Denham focused his efforts on education, agriculture and job creation. He called for a reduction in government waste in Sacramento, better use of state surplus assets and a crackdown on sexual predators.[17]

Denham's awards include Legislator of the Year by the California State Sheriffs' Association (2004), Outstanding Legislator by the California State Sheriff's Association (2005), Legislator of the Year by the California Small Business Association (2005), Most Progressive Law Enforcement Leader of the Year by A Woman's Place of Merced (2005), and California Teachers Association Gold Award (2005).[18]

Committee assignments[edit]

  • Business, Professions and Economic Development[19]
  • Education[20]
  • Agriculture[21]
  • Veterans Affairs[22]
  • Governmental Organization[23]

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]



In December 2009, seven-term U.S. Congressman George Radanovich announced he would retire due to health reasons. He endorsed Denham as his successor.[24]

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%.[25] Denham won largely by running up the votes in Stanislaus and Tuolumne 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.[26][27]


After redistricting, Denham decided to run in the newly redrawn California's 10th congressional district. Former NASA astronaut José Hernández ran against him as the Democratic candidate. Both of them lived outside of the CD.[28] The 10th is a swing district with a 25% Hispanic voting age population.[29] Denham won with 53% of the vote to Democratic Hernández's 47%.


In 2014 no Republican ran against Denham in the primary. Although Denham is expected to receive media endorsements over his Democratic opponent Michael Eggman,[30] his seat was regarded by some as "vulnerable" earlier in the year[30][31] The Rothenberg Political Report, however, now lists the race as "Republican Favored."[32] He won this election too.


In the 112th Congress, Denham voted with his party 95% of the time, and has voted with his party 90% of the time overall.[33]

In July 2012, he criticized an event put on by the General Services Administration, which cost $268,732. He said that he believes the controversy goes even further than the GSA.[34]

In October 2013, Denham co-sponsored the comprehensive immigration reform bill introduced by House Democrats. In announcing his support for the bill, he stated: "We can’t afford any more delays. I support an earned path to citizenship to allow those who want to become citizens to demonstrate a commitment to our country, learn English, pay fines and back taxes and pass background checks."[35]

Denham has argued that the national deficit is the biggest issue, which he called a threat to the nation's freedom. He has stressed his desire to use the economic downturn to reassess and find different ways to drive the United States forward.[36]

In August 2014, Denham broke ranks with the Republican Party and voted against a bill that would have dismantled the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.[37]

Committee assignments[edit]

Personal life[edit]

He owns and operates Denham Plastics, a supplier of reusable containers in the agriculture industry.[38] He and his family also farm almonds at their ranch in Merced County.[39]

Denham and his wife Sonia have two children.[40]

Electoral history[edit]

California Assembly District 28
Year Republican Votes Pct Democrat Votes Pct Third Party Party Votes Pct Third Party Party Votes Pct
2000 Jeff Denham 54,729 44% Simon Salinas 66,011 53% JJ Vogel Reform 2,891 2% Roger Ver Libertarian 2,134 2%
California Senate District 12
Year Republican Votes Pct Democrat Votes Pct Third Party Party Votes Pct
2002[13] Jeff Denham 73,877 48% Rusty Areias 72,034 47% David Eaton Libertarian 6,950 5%
2006[16] Jeff Denham 90,288 58% Wiley Nickel 65,130 42%
California Congressional District 19 (2010) and 10 (2012-)
Year Republican Votes Pct Democrat Votes Pct Third Party Party Votes Pct
2010[27] Jeff Denham 128,394 65% Loraine Goodwin 69,912 35% Les Marsden Independent 596 0%
2012[41] Jeff Denham 110,265 53% José Hernández 98,934 47%


  1. ^ a b c d Reichard, John (November 3, 2010). "112th Congress: Jeff Denham, R-Calif. (19th District)". Congressional Quarterly. 
  2. ^ "Jeff Denham announces run for lieutenant governor". The Sacramento Bee. December 11, 2008. Retrieved February 5, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Sen. John McCain endorses Jeff Denham for lt. governor". The Californian. May 12, 2009. Retrieved February 5, 2014. 
  4. ^ Goldmacher, Shane (November 24, 2009). "Schwarzenegger taps Abel Maldonado for lieutenant governor". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 5, 2014. 
  5. ^ "Breaking down the Maldonado confirmation vote". Political Blotter. April 26, 2010. Retrieved February 5, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Denham quits Lt. Gov. race, will vie for Berryhill's assembly seat". The Modesto Bee. December 10, 2009. Retrieved February 5, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Senator Jeff Denham Drops out of Lt. Gov. Race". ABC News. December 10, 2009. Retrieved February 5, 2014. 
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^[dead link]
  12. ^ a b
  13. ^ a b
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^ a b
  17. ^ "Jeff Denham Path to Power". WhoRunsGov (The Washington Post). August 21, 2012. 
  18. ^ "Jeff Denham Biography" (PDF). Victory Valley College. Retrieved 26 May 2014. 
  19. ^ Senate Business, Professions and Economic Development committee membership list
  20. ^ Senate Education committee membership list
  21. ^ Senate Standing Committee on Food and Agriculture
  22. ^ Senate Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs
  23. ^ Senate Standing Committee on Government Organization
  24. ^ Blake, Aaron (2009-12-29). "Radanovich to retire". The Hill. Retrieved 26 May 2014. 
  25. ^
  26. ^ 2010 general election results
  27. ^ a b
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^ a b Caine, Eric (6 June 2014). "Election Post-Mortem". The Valley Citizen. Archived from the original on 14 June 2014. 
  31. ^ Ruiz, Olivia Barragán (10 June 2014). "Eggman lands a spot on ballot Latino Democrat will face Jeff Denham in November". Vida en la Valle. Archived from the original on 14 June 2014. 
  32. ^ "House Ratings". Rothenberg Political Report. 17 October 2014. Retrieved 20 October 2014. 
  33. ^ "Denham Votes". The U.S. Congress Votes Database (The Washington Post). Retrieved 17 August 2012. 
  34. ^ Parni, Tarini (19 July 2012). "Lawmakers: GSA spent $270K on event". Politico. Retrieved 17 August 2012. 
  35. ^ Richard Simon (October 27, 2013). "Immigration: California Republican Rep. Denham backs overhaul bill". LA Times. Retrieved November 20, 2013. 
  36. ^ "Jeff Denham The Issues". WhoRunsGov (The Washington Post). Retrieved 17 August 2012. 
  37. ^ Foley, Elise (8-1-2014). "House Votes To Strip Deportation Relief From Dreamers". Huffington Post. Retrieved 4 September 2014.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  38. ^ Parsons, Larry (2012-07-27). "Salinas fire won't disrupt Denham Plastics operations, congressman says". Monterey Herald. Retrieved 26 May 2014. 
  39. ^ Skelton, George (2008-03-31). "Recall is polluting spring air". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 26 May 2014. 
  40. ^ "Meet Rep. Jeff Denham". House of Representatives. Retrieved 17 August 2012.  line feed character in |title= at position 16 (help)
  41. ^ "Office of the California Secretary of State" (PDF). Retrieved 21 January 2014. 

External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
George Radanovich
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 19th congressional district

January 3, 2011 – 2013
Succeeded by
Zoe Lofgren
Preceded by
John Garamendi
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 10th congressional district

January 3, 2013 – present
Succeeded by
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Rick Crawford
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Scott DesJarlais
California Senate
Preceded by
Dick Monteith
12th District
Succeeded by
Anthony Cannella