Almanac A members-only database of searchable profiles compiled and adapted from the Almanac of American Politics

Biography

Elected: 2010, 2nd term.

Born: July 29, 1967, Hawthorne, CA

Home: Turlock, CA

Education: CA Polytechnic St. U., San Luis Obispo, B.A. 1991.

Professional Career: Project mgr., Fresh Express, 1992-98; owner, Denham Plastics.

Ethnicity: White/Caucasian

Religion: Presbyterian

Family: Married (Sonia) , 2 children

Jeff Denham, a Republican elected in 2010, is a vocal and vigilant fiscal conservative who has developed a relatively unglamorous sub-specialty—ensuring that federal office space is being used efficiently. He also has drawn on his background as an Air Force veteran and farmer to work on military and agricultural issues.

Denham was born near Los Angeles and lived in Indiana for five years, but he spent most of his childhood in the Northern California town of Pescadero. His parents were just 17 and 18 years old when he was born. His mother worked at car dealerships, and his father was at various times a farmer, a construction worker, and a meat-cutter. His parents divorced when he was in high school, and Denham spent much of his time at his grandparents’ home. His grandfather served in World War II and the Korean War before joining the Los Angeles Police Department. At age 17, Denham enlisted in the Air Force himself and was on active duty for three-and-a-half years and in the Air Force Reserve for more than a dozen. He was a crew chief, preparing and maintaining aircraft such as F-4 fighter jets and C-5 transport planes.

After transitioning to the Reserve, Denham attended community college and then transferred to Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, where he was active in the College Republicans and received a bachelor’s degree in political science. During the Persian Gulf War, he was called to active duty and worked on an air base in Saudi Arabia. He also maintained aircrafts involved in the peacekeeping mission in Somalia in 1992. Back home after his service, Denham became the manager of a packaged salad company, and in 1998, he founded his own business, Denham Plastics, an agricultural container supply firm. In 2004, he bought a ranch in Merced County, where he grows almonds.

Denham first ran for public office in 2000, losing a bid for the California Assembly. Two years later, he ran for the state Senate and eked out a victory in a district where Democrats held a 12-point registration advantage. His roommate for several years in Sacramento was Kevin McCarthy, now the House majority whip. As a state legislator, Denham sponsored a bill that would have required convicted pedophiles to wear electronic tracking devices for their entire lives. In 2007, during one of California’s numerous budget crises, Democrats needed Republican support to approve a budget. Because of the makeup of Denham’s district, Democratic leaders hoped that he would agree to a compromise that included spending cuts and tax increases to balance the state’s books. Denham refused, and as a result, Democratic Senate Leader Don Perata organized a recall campaign against him. The petition drive acquired sufficient signatures to qualify for the ballot in June 2008, but a resounding 75% of district voters chose not to recall Denham.

In December 2009, Republican Rep. George Radanovich announced he would retire at the end of the term to care for his ailing wife. He called Denham shortly before Christmas and asked him to run. Denham did not have a clear path to Congress, however. The rare open congressional seat also drew former Rep. Richard Pombo and former Fresno Mayor Jim Patterson into the 2010 primary. Pombo had been ousted from the neighboring 11th District by Democrat Jerry McNerney in 2006. His primary opponents criticized Denham for flying on a corporate jet with Republican strategist Karl Rove, a possible violation of federal election law, and for his ties to an Indian tribe that sponsored ads attacking his opponents. But with strong fundraising and the support of the popular Radanovich, Denham won the primary with 36%, ahead of Patterson, who finished with 31%. Pombo placed third with 21%. In the general election, Denham easily defeated Democrat Loraine Goodwin, a physician, 65% to 35%.

In the House, Denham got off to a shaky start when he went against new Republican Speaker John Boehner’s admonition to keep GOP inaugural celebrations austere, throwing a $2,500-a-person fundraiser featuring country singer LeAnn Rimes. But he was given a seat on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and, in recognition of his state legislative experience, got the chairmanship of its subcommittee on economic development, public buildings and emergency management.

In 2012, Denham got the House to create a commission to study whether federal offices were being used efficiently. He fought, unsuccessfully, to block plans to build a new $400 million courthouse in Los Angeles that was a priority for other California delegation members, and he criticized the Securities and Exchange Commission for leasing of 900,000 square feet of space, which he said was unneeded and cost the taxpayers $556 million. After the SEC’s inspector general indicated the contract violated federal rules because it resulted from a noncompetitive bid, Denham and Washington, D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton wrote legislation preventing the agency from leasing property independently. He also got a bill into law to reduce veteran unemployment by streamlining the federal job certification process.

In his first bid for reelection in 2012, Denham finished first with 49% of the vote in the state’s all-party primary, and then faced Democrat Jose Hernandez, a former astronaut, in the general. During the campaign, Politico reported that Denham was one of the House Republicans who went swimming in the Sea of Galilee on a trip to Israel in 2011. And Hernandez criticized him for using taxpayers’ money to stay in hotels near the district. Denham accused Hernandez of carpet bagging, since he had lived in Houston during the years he worked at NASA. The race tightened as Election Day drew nearer, but Denham pulled off a 53%-47% win.

Office Contact Information

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-4540

(202) 225-3402

LHOB- Longworth House Office Building Room 1730
Washington, DC 20515-0510

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-4540

(202) 225-3402

LHOB- Longworth House Office Building Room 1730
Washington, DC 20515-0510

DISTRICT OFFICE

(202) 225-4540

(202) 225-3402

4701 Sisk Road Suite 202
Modesto, CA 95356-9320

DISTRICT OFFICE

(209) 579-5458

(209) 579-5028

4701 Sisk Road Suite 202
Modesto, CA 95356-9320

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

(202) 225-4540

(202) 225-3402

941 East Monte Vista Avenue
Turlock, CA 95381

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

941 East Monte Vista Avenue
Turlock, CA 95381

EXPORT CONTACTS » *

Staff

Sort by: Interest Name Title

Abortion

Tracey Chow
Senior Legislative Assistant

Agriculture

Tracey Chow
Senior Legislative Assistant

Appropriations

Bret Manley
Legislative Director

Banking

Bret Manley
Legislative Director

Budget

Bret Manley
Legislative Director

Tracey Chow
Senior Legislative Assistant

Education

Tracey Chow
Senior Legislative Assistant

Energy

Tracey Chow
Senior Legislative Assistant

Chris White
Legislative Assistant

Environment

Chris White
Legislative Assistant

Finance

Bret Manley
Legislative Director

Health

Chris White
Legislative Assistant

Homeland Security

Tracey Chow
Senior Legislative Assistant

Housing

Bret Manley
Legislative Director

Immigration

Tracey Chow
Senior Legislative Assistant

Judiciary

Tracey Chow
Senior Legislative Assistant

Labor

Bret Manley
Legislative Director

Land Use

Jason Larrabee
Chief of Staff

Medicare

Chris White
Legislative Assistant

Science

Tracey Chow
Senior Legislative Assistant

Tax

Bret Manley
Legislative Director

Tracey Chow
Senior Legislative Assistant

Technology

Tracey Chow
Senior Legislative Assistant

Telecommunications

Tracey Chow
Senior Legislative Assistant

Trade

Bret Manley
Legislative Director

Tracey Chow
Senior Legislative Assistant

Transportation

Bret Manley
Legislative Director

Election Results

2014 GENERAL
Jeff Denham
Votes: 62,750
Percent: 56.4%
Michael Eggman
Votes: 48,510
Percent: 43.6%
2012 GENERAL
Jeff Denham
Votes: 110,265
Percent: 52.71%
Jose Hernandez
Votes: 98,934
Percent: 47.29%
2012 PRIMARY
Jeff Denham
Votes: 45,779
Percent: 49.24%
Jose Hernandez
Votes: 26,072
Percent: 28.04%
Chad Condit
Votes: 13,983
Percent: 15.04%
Mike Barkley
Votes: 5,028
Percent: 5.41%
2010 GENERAL
Jeff Denham
Votes: 128,394
Percent: 64.55%
Loraine Goodwin
Votes: 69,912
Percent: 35.15%
2010 PRIMARY
Jeff Denham
Votes: 26,594
Percent: 36.3%
Jim Patterson
Votes: 22,355
Percent: 30.51%
Richard Pombo
Votes: 15,196
Percent: 20.74%
Larry Westerlund
Votes: 9,126
Percent: 12.46%
Prior Winning Percentages
2010 (65%)

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