Jeff Denham

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Not to be confused with Jeff Dunham.
Jeff Denham
Jeff Denham official congressional photo.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 49)
Hawthorne, California[1]
Nationality American
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Sonia Denham[1]
Residence Turlock, California
Alma mater Victor Valley College
California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo[1]
Profession Politician, businessman
Religion Presbyterian[2]
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 /ˈdɛnəm/ (born July 29, 1967) is an American politician, United States Air Force veteran, and businessman. A member of the Republican Party, he is the U.S. Representative for California's 10th congressional district. Denham first won election to the U.S. House in 2010, representing California's 19th congressional district for one term before redistricting led him to run in the 10th district in 2012.

From 2002 to 2010, Denham served in the California State Senate, representing the 12th District, which includes Madera, Merced, Monterey, San Benito, and Stanislaus counties. Prior to seeking political office, Denham served on active and reserve status in the United States Air Force for 16 years, and served in both Operation Desert Storm in Iraq and Operation Restore Hope in Somalia.

Early life, education, and military service[edit]

In 1984, at age 17, Denham enlisted in the United States Air Force. He served on active and reserve status for 16 years, during which he received the Meritorious Service Medal for his service during Operation Desert Storm (Iraq) and Operation Restore Hope (Somalia).[1][3] In 2006 he was honored by the California National Guard with its highest military award, the "Order of California" service award, for distinguished service.

Denham received an associate's degree from Victor Valley College in 1989 and a B.A. in political science from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, in 1992.[4] He has worked as a farmer and started a plastics container company to ship produce.[1]

2000 State Assembly campaign[edit]

In 2000, Denham ran for the California State Assembly against City Councilman Simon Salinas, a Democrat. A total of $2.5 million was spent in the race. Salinas defeated Denham with 52% of the vote.[5]

California State Senate[edit]



Denham ran for the State Senate in 2002 against former Democratic State Assemblyman Rusty Areias. The race featured a number of negative political advertisements and was one of the most expensive legislative races in state history, with over $6.3 million spent.[6] Denham's campaign highlighted Areias's financial difficulties, including unpaid taxes.[7]

The election was on November 5, 2002, but the vote count was close; the lead in the race went back and forth for several days.[8] Denham won by 1,843 votes, 48% to 47%.[9]


In November 2006, Denham won re-election to a second term with 58% of the vote.[10]

2008 recall attempt

In 2008, a recall effort was instigated against Denham by Democrat Don Perata after Denham declined to cast a deadlock-breaking vote on the state budget. Supporters of the recall turned in more than 60,000 signatures. In the recall election on June 3, 2008, Denham easily survived the recall, with 77% of voters casting ballots to retain him.[11]

2009 Lieutenant Governor and State Assembly campaigns

Denham announced in December 2008 that he would be a candidate for Lieutenant Governor of California in the 2010 election.[12][13] He ended his campaign soon after Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, in November 2009, appointed Republican State Senator Abel Maldonado to fill the vacancy left by the resignation of Lieutenant Governor John Garamendi, a Democrat, who was elected to Congress.[14][15]

Denham then campaigned briefly for the State Assembly seat being vacated by Tom Berryhill of Modesto,[16][17] but in late December 2009 he dropped out of that race to run for Congress.


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.[18]

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).[19]

Committee assignments[edit]

Denham's committee assignments in the California State Senate included:[20]

  • Business, Professions and Economic Development
  • Education
  • Agriculture
  • Veterans Affairs
  • Governmental Organization

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 for the California's 19th congressional district.[21] In the Republican primary, Denham defeated Fresno mayor Jim Patterson, former U.S. Congressman Richard Pombo, and Fresno City Councilman Larry Westerlund 36%–31%–21%–12%.[22] In the 2010 general election, Denham defeated Democrat Loraine Goodwin with 65% of the vote.[23]


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.[24] The 10th is a swing district with a 25% Hispanic voting age population.[25] Denham won with 53% of the vote to Hernández's 47%.


In 2014, Denham ran unopposed in the Republican primary. Denham was expected to receive media endorsements over his Democratic opponent, Michael Eggman, a commercial beekeeper and almond grower,[26] although the seat was regarded by some as "vulnerable" earlier in the year.[27]

The Rothenberg Political Report ultimately listed the race as "Republican Favored".[28] Denham defeated Eggman with 56% of the vote.[29]


Denham ran for re-election in 2016.[30] He finished first in the top-two primary on June 7, 2016, and again faced Eggman, who placed second, in the general election on November 8, 2016.[31] Denham won re-election with 51.7% of the vote.[32] More than $11 million was spent on the race, mostly from outside groups.[33]

Committee assignments[edit]

Political positions[edit]

He has voted with his party in 95.9% of votes so far in the current session of Congress and voted in line with President Trump's position in 100% of the votes.[34][35] Despite this, for the 114th United States Congress, Denham was ranked as the 41st most bipartisan member of the U.S. House of Representatives (and the second most bipartisan member of the U.S. House of Representatives from California) in the Bipartisan Index created by The Lugar Center and the McCourt School of Public Policy that ranks members of the United States Congress by their degree of bipartisanship (by measuring the frequency each member's bills attract co-sponsors from the opposite party and each member's co-sponsorship of bills by members of the opposite party).[36]


Denham opposes abortion.[37]


He supports mandatory minimum sentences.[37]

Energy and environment[edit]

He opposes federal regulation of greenhouse gas emissions.[37]

He has a 7% score by the League of Conservation Voters.[38]

Government shutdown[edit]

Denham voted against raising the debt ceiling in 2013, which led to a 16-day Government Shutdown. He also voted against the bill that reopened the government and avoided a default.[39]


He is in favor of repealing the Affordable Care Act.[37]


In October 2013, Denham co-sponsored the comprehensive immigration reform bill introduced by House Democrats. In announcing his support for the bill, he said: "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."[40]

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.[41]

LGBT rights[edit]

He opposes same-sex marriage.[37] He has voted in favor of provisions which would allow federal contractors to discriminate against people based on their sexual orientation.[42]

National deficit and government spending[edit]

Denham has argued that the national deficit is the biggest issue for the United States, and called it a threat to the nation's freedom.[43]

In July 2012, he criticized an event put on by the General Services Administration, which cost $268,732. He said that he believed that the controversy went even further than the GSA.[44]

President Trump[edit]

During the 2016 presidential race, Denham stayed silent as to whether he supported Trump or not.[45] The Modesto Bee refused to endorse Denham in the 2016 House race, after having endorsed on three prior occasions, over his inability to reject Trump.

In February 2017, he voted against resolution that would have directed the House to request 10 years of Trump's tax returns, which would then have been reviewed by the House Ways and Means Committee in a closed session.[46]

Personal life[edit]

Denham and his wife Sonia have two children.[47] She is Hispanic, and Denham has said that he learned Spanish to communicate with her family, including to help his Mexican father-in-law through the process of gaining U.S. citizenship.[48] Denham owns and operates Denham Plastics, a supplier of reusable containers in the agriculture industry.[49] He and his family also farm almonds at their ranch in Merced County.[50]

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 Jeff Denham 73,877 48% Rusty Areias 72,034 47% David Eaton Libertarian 6,950 5%
2006 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 Jeff Denham 128,394 65% Loraine Goodwin 69,912 35% Les Marsden Independent 596 0%
2012 Jeff Denham 110,265 53% José Hernández 98,934 47%
2014 Jeff Denham 70,582 56% Michael Eggman 55,123 44%
2016 [1] Jeff Denham 110,659 52% Michael Eggman 100,646 48%


  1. ^ a b c d e "Jeff Denham (R)". Election 2012. Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 14 November 2016. 
  2. ^ "Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.)". Roll Call. Retrieved 2 March 2016. 
  3. ^ Doyle, Michael (October 26, 2012). "Rep. Jeff Denham sues over ad in hotly contested California race". McClatchy DC. Retrieved 14 November 2016. 
  4. ^ "DENHAM, Jeff, (1967 - )". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved 14 November 2016. 
  5. ^ Goldmacher, Shane (April 4, 2008). "Ex-assemblyman will challenge Sen. Denham in recall campaign". Sacramento Bee. Retrieved 2 March 2016. 
  6. ^ "Negative ads apparently paid off, as shown by Denham-Areias tilt". Archived from the original on November 6, 2005. Retrieved July 21, 2007. 
  7. ^ Caldwell, Michelle (October 17, 2002). "Rusty Areias takes another shot at the State Senate". Monterrey County Now. Retrieved 2 March 2016. 
  8. ^ Miller, Jim (November 14, 2002). "Denham says victory in 12th is guaranteed". Modesto Bee. Archived from the original on April 27, 2003. Retrieved March 2, 2016. 
  9. ^ "CA State Senate 12". Our Campaigns. Retrieved March 2, 2016. 
  10. ^ "CA State Senate 12". Our Campaigns. Retrieved March 2, 2016. 
  11. ^ Richman, Josh (June 3, 2008). "The Jeff Denham recall is a flop". Political Blotter. Bay Area News Group. Retrieved 2 March 2016. 
  12. ^ "Jeff Denham announces run for lieutenant governor". The Sacramento Bee. December 11, 2008. Retrieved February 5, 2014. 
  13. ^ "Sen. John McCain endorses Jeff Denham for lt. governor". The Californian. May 12, 2009. Archived from the original on January 19, 2016. Retrieved February 5, 2014. 
  14. ^ Goldmacher, Shane (November 24, 2009). "Schwarzenegger taps Abel Maldonado for lieutenant governor". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 5, 2014. 
  15. ^ "Breaking down the Maldonado confirmation vote". Political Blotter. April 26, 2010. Retrieved February 5, 2014. 
  16. ^ "Denham quits Lt. Gov. race, will vie for Berryhill's assembly seat". The Modesto Bee. December 10, 2009. Archived from the original on February 21, 2014. Retrieved February 5, 2014. 
  17. ^ "Senator Jeff Denham Drops out of Lt. Gov. Race". ABC News. December 10, 2009. Retrieved February 5, 2014. 
  18. ^ "Jeff Denham Path to Power". WhoRunsGov. The Washington Post. August 21, 2012. 
  19. ^ "Jeff Denham Biography" (PDF). Victory Valley College. Retrieved 26 May 2014. 
  20. ^ "Jeff Denham". Ballotpedia. Retrieved 2 March 2016. 
  21. ^ Blake, Aaron (December 29, 2009). "Radanovich to retire". The Hill. Retrieved May 26, 2014. 
  22. ^ "CA District 19 - R Primary". Our Campaigns. Retrieved March 2, 2016. 
  23. ^ "CA - District 19". Our Campaigns. Retrieved March 2, 2016. 
  24. ^ "CA - District 10 - Open Primary". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 2 March 2016. 
  25. ^ Trygstad, Kyle (October 13, 2011). "Astronaut Challenging Freshman Jeff Denham". Roll Call. Retrieved March 2, 2016. 
  26. ^ Caine, Eric (June 6, 2014). "Election Post-Mortem". The Valley Citizen. Retrieved March 2, 2016. 
  27. ^ Barragan Ruiz, Olivia (June 10, 2014). "Eggman lands a spot on ballot Latino Democrat will face Jeff Denham in November". Fresno Bee. Archived from the original on June 14, 2014. Retrieved March 2, 2016. 
  28. ^ "House Ratings". Rothenberg Political Report. 17 October 2014. Retrieved October 20, 2014. 
  29. ^ "Statement of the Vote November 4, 2014" (PDF). California Secretary of State. Retrieved March 2, 2016. 
  30. ^ Holland, John (May 21, 2016). "Challengers for Denham's House seat range across spectrum". Modesto Bee. Retrieved May 24, 2016. 
  31. ^ "California Primary Results". New York Times. Retrieved June 8, 2016. 
  32. ^ Holland, John (November 8, 2016). "Denham defeats Eggman for Modesto-area House seat". Modesto Bee. Retrieved November 11, 2016. 
  33. ^ Cockerham, Sean. "Darrell Issa, Jeff Denham and Steve Knight win reelection | The Wichita Eagle". Retrieved 2016-11-12. 
  34. ^ Bycoffe, Aaron (2017-01-30). "Tracking Jeff Denham In The Age Of Trump". FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved 2017-02-18. 
  35. ^ Willis, Derek. "Represent". ProPublica. Retrieved 2017-02-18. 
  36. ^ The Lugar Center - McCourt School Bipartisan Index (PDF), The Lugar Center, March 7, 2016, retrieved April 30, 2017 
  37. ^ a b c d e "The Voter's Self Defense System". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved 2017-02-12. 
  38. ^ "Check out Representative Jeff Denham's Environmental Voting Record". League of Conservation Voters Scorecard. Retrieved 2017-02-12. 
  39. ^ "Shutdown vote may take political toll in California". mcclatchydc. Retrieved 2017-02-12. 
  40. ^ Richard Simon (October 27, 2013). "Immigration: California Republican Rep. Denham backs overhaul bill". LA Times. Retrieved November 20, 2013. 
  41. ^ Foley, Elise (August 1, 2014). "House Votes To Strip Deportation Relief From Dreamers". Huffington Post. Retrieved 4 September 2014. 
  42. ^ Marcos, Cristina (2016-05-19). "Chaos in House after GOP votes down LGBT measure". TheHill. Retrieved 2017-02-12. 
  43. ^ "Jeff Denham The Issues". WhoRunsGov. The Washington Post. Retrieved August 17, 2012. 
  44. ^ Parni, Tarini (19 July 2012). "Lawmakers: GSA spent $270K on event". Politico. Retrieved 17 August 2012. 
  45. ^ "August Essential Politics news feed: California Legislature's session ends in the wee hours". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2017-02-12. 
  46. ^ "These are all the Republicans who don't want you to see Donald Trump's tax returns". indy100. 2017-02-28. Retrieved 2017-03-01. 
  47. ^ "Meet Rep. Jeff Denham". House of Representatives. Retrieved August 17, 2012. 
  48. ^ Wallsten, Peter (October 26, 2013). "GOP congressman backs Democrats on immigration overhaul giving illegal immigrants path to citizenship". Washington Post. Retrieved January 23, 2017. 
  49. ^ Parsons, Larry (2012-07-27). "Salinas fire won't disrupt Denham Plastics operations, congressman says". Monterey Herald. Retrieved 26 May 2014. 
  50. ^ Skelton, George (2008-03-31). "Recall is polluting spring air". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 26 May 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