Three Republican challengers are taking on a three-term Democratic Congressman to represent San Joaquin and slivers of two other counties in the U.S. House of Representatives. One is a political newcomer, one has run before, and one is Stockton's current mayor.

They hope to unseat U.S. Rep. Josh Harder (D-Tracy), who is vying for his fourth term in Congress and second representing District 9. Because of redistricting due to the 2020 Census, Harder moved after two terms representing mostly Stanislaus County in the old 10th District. He was elected to the newly drawn 9th with 55% of the vote in the 2022 General Election and replaced longtime Congressman Jerry McNerny, who retired prior to the 2022 race but has returned to run for the California State Senate this year.

Bides San Joaquin County, the district includes towns in Contra Costa (Discovery Bay) and Stanislaus (Valley Home) counties. Stockton is the biggest city in the district.

The two candidates with the most votes in Tuesday's primary will face each other in November for the seat. 

Josh Harder

Party: Democrat

Age: 37

Family: Married, 1 child (might be 2 by election day – wife is expected to give birth within a week)

Occupation: Incumbent Congressman

Resides: Tracy

Website: https://harder.house.gov

During his four years in the U.S. House of Representatives, Mr. Harder points to his achievements of stalling the Delta Tunnel project, bolstering the Port of Stockton’s export capabilities, and urging the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to change its rules so San Joaquin County families could receive needed aid after the 2023 floods. But, he said, there’s lots of work still to be done, especially in terms of water. “This is a critical time in the fight against the Delta tunnel project. We need to keep our water resource local and not send it down to L.A. or Beverly Hills,” said Mr. Harder, who mentioned the increase of 70,000 acre-feet of water storage in the Los Vaqueros Reservoir between Tracy and Livermore as an additional step in the fight against drought.

Mr. Harder said crime is “pernicious” in Stockton, and provided three issues to fight for in the coming term:

  • A police force with 100 fewer sworn officers than the city is budgeted for – “I wish there was more local leadership on that issue.”
  • The ongoing illegal immigration situation along the southern border with Mexico, where drugs, gangs, and human/sexual trafficking are occurring regularly – “Because we’re on both I-5 and the 99, we’re at the nexus here.”
  • The need for reform of laws that lightly sentence or excuse retail theft, smaller crimes, and sideshows. “There is no magic pill that will solve all our challenges. But our community needs to be safe before it can feel safe.”
Stockton Mayor Kevin Lincoln speaks with Community Medical Centers Respite Center manager Daniel Chavez during a tour of CMC’s detox facility in June, 2022. (Photo by Duane Sanders)

Kevin Lincoln

Party: Republican

Age: 43

Family: Married, 2 children

Occupation: Stockton Mayor, Pastor

Resides: Stockton

Website: www.kevinlincolnforcongress.com

Mr. Lincoln is a third generation Internitvn and grandson of an immigrant from Mexico who has served as Stockton mayor since his election in 2020. He decided not to seek reelection as mayor, instead opting to try and unseat Representative Harder. According to his candidate statement in the San Joaquin County Sample Ballot, Mr. Lincoln believes it is time to “foster bipartisan progress” on issues that challenge those who live in the Central Valley. These include rising inflation, crime, and the destructive force of illegal drugs in the community.

According to his campaign website, Mr. Lincoln has an “agenda for the Valley” that includes a fiscal approach to reduce the national debt, lower inflation, and promote local job creation and growth. The website also mentions the need to protect farmers, the Valley’s water supply, and improving veteran benefits.

Mr. Lincoln did not respond to our request for an interview, nor did he provide answers to questions Internitv posed to him by email.

Khalid Jeffrey Jafri

Khalid Jeffrey Jafri

Party: Republican

Age: 79

Family: Married, 4 children

Occupation: Retired Engineer, California Department of Water Resources

Resides: Tracy

Website: kjeffreyjafri.com

In addition to his position as an engineer with the state of California, Mr. Jafri has farmed in San Joaquin County since 1981, growing 40 acres of Zinfandel grapes and 20 acres of walnuts. He says the local farming community is suffering without the availability of legal seasonal farmworkers, among other issues. “We can find illegal, non-documented workers with no problem, but we’re in trouble if we hire them,” he said. “I support an immigration policy that makes farmworkers legal.”

Mr. Jafri also supports building free, universal health clinics, similar to ones in Canada, where people without health insurance can receive care and not overburden hospital emergency rooms. He says the Social Security system is “drying up” and more people need to be paying more into the system to raise enough funds to keep it solvent.

Mr. Jafri has run for Congress before, doing so as a Democrat in 2022, when he received 3 percent of the votes in the primary election. He is now running as a Republican. He said he is pro-life - “we should preserve all life that comes into this world,” - but not pro-gun – “there must be better background checks.”

John McBride

John McBride

Party: Republican

Age: 63

Family: Married, 5 children

Occupation: Strength and Conditioning Coach

Resides: Stockton

Website: www.johnmcbrideforcongress.com

Mr. McBride’s family ancestry dates to 1633 in Connecticut. One of his ancestors, Lyman Hall, signed the Declaration of Independence. And independence is his main reason for running. Mr. McBride believes America’s freedom is at stake – both from the outside and inside. “It doesn’t matter where you stand on social issues, if we lose our freedom, we lose our country,” he said. “And there are people with a globalist agenda who are in favor of the destruction of our constitutional republic.”

Mr. McBride did not file a candidate statement in San Joaquin County due to its $13,040 cost, which is more than double what he has raised, according to the latest Federal Election Commission reports. “That keeps grass-roots candidates from running,” he said.

Likewise, Mr. McBride said it’s “unconscionable” and “intentional” that the national debt has risen to $34 Trillion, and the interest payments are unsustainable. He is concerned the U.S. will be forced to enter one or more current international conflict – China/Taiwan, Russia/Ukraine, or the Middle East – and bring about World War III. And he said the southern border must be protected at all costs – to curb the importation of drugs, gangs, and human trafficking.

Most of all, Mr. McBride said his constituents will always know where he stands on issues. He is a man of faith who will not waffle or waiver on important decisions. And he won’t become compromised like many “cowards who do so because they want to stay in power.”

This is his first run for office.

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1 Comment

  1. So lets get this straight — Harder is running against a MAGA weightlifting coach who failed to file a candidate statement do to lack of funds; a former Democrat who received less then 3% of votes in his previous bid for office, and is now running as a Republican in favor of gun-reform, and a one-term Stockton mayor who having accomplished absolutely nothing in office, now claims he “has an agenda”, but at this time cannot provide specifics?! HARDER HANDS DOWN!

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