Border security bill scrape could open GOP challenge to Duarte in 2024

A vote against one of the House GOP’s major legislative initiatives has awoken at least one would-be contender to mull a challenge to the Modesto farmer-turned-lawmaker.

Rep. John Duarte (R–Modesto) could soon have a challenge mounting from his own party. 

The first-term Congressman has faced an early hiccup with his own party after voting against his party over a key border security bill last week. 


The backstory: Last week, Duarte was one of two Republicans to vote against H.R. 2, the Secure the Border Act, which passed by a 219-213 vote. 

  • The bill, which now moves to the Senate, would resume construction of the wall along the border with Mexico, limit asylum eligibility and creates an E-Verify system that would have employers check if new hires are authorized to work in the U.S. 
  • After the vote, Duarte said his opposition was rooted in protecting the Central Valley’s many farmworkers who do not have citizenship and are in the U.S. illegally. 

The big picture: Madera businessman and previous Congressional candidate David Giglio is exploring another run against Duarte in part because of the latter’s break with Republicans. 

  • Giglio has formed an exploratory committee, the first step before officially becoming a candidate. While he has not yet made a final decision to run, he told The Sun that he plans to do so very soon. 
  • Giglio ran for the 13th Congressional District last year, but placed fourth in the primary with 15.1 percent and did not advance to the general election. 

What they’re saying: In a statement to The Sun, Giglio said he has received a growing number of messages and phone calls in recent days asking him to consider entering the race in light of Duarte’s vote. 

  • Giglio said people feel betrayed by Duarte’s decision to vote against H.R. 2. 
  • “His vote and the reasoning behind it are indefensible and a clear sign that his desire to serve is motivated more by personal enrichment than fidelity to his constituents,” Giglio said. “Thus, it has become clear that John has no intention of delivering the type of ‘change’ voters believed they were getting when they took a chance and elected a Republican.”
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