Fundraising · Politics

“We’re calling on help from San Francisco” to hold Valley seat, Harder pleads

Central Valley Rep. Josh Harder (D–Turlock) is making a plea to maintain a grip on his north Valley seat in Congress.

But he’s looking in one direction for those funds: west, to the City by the Bay.

Harder’s campaign sent out an email in late January alleging a dark money GOP group launched an attack on the congressman, and Harder needs more funds to mount a defense. 

“This has been a really difficult fundraising month for the campaign as people have tuned out now that the 2020 election is over and Trump is out of office,” the email reads. “Plus, the historic events of this month didn’t leave Josh and our team much time to focus on getting our reelection campaign back up to speed. 

“That brings us to today – we need to get our Rapid Response Fund refilled and get back into defense mode, and we’re calling on help from San Francisco to make it happen.” 

As is typical of fundraising emails, Harder’s team asked for a paltry $5,500 from San Francisco donors.

To the trained eye, it should come as little surprise that Harder is making direct appeals to the Bay Area to fund a large portion of his 2022 reelection campaign given his history fundraising from the Democrat-heavy base. 

Shortly after flipping the seat blue with his defeat of former Rep. Jeff Denham (R–Turlock) in 2018, Harder appeared at a “volunteer thank you reception” in San Francisco, giving him an opportunity to meet with Bay Area residents who made phone calls, sent text messages and canvassed door-to-door for him. 

The money trail also leads right back to the Bay Area. 

For the 2020 election cycle, Harder raised $479,381 in his district, according to Open Secrets – a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that compiles federal campaign contributions. 

Those funds raised in the 10th Congressional district only made up 8.18 percent of the total donations Harder received. 

The Bay Area was by far Harder’s best donor-base in 2020. Harder received $1,894,912 from the San Francisco area, $713,682 from the San Jose area and $698,414 from the Oakland area. 

That total of over $3.3 million in donations from those three Bay Area metropolitan areas combined to make up 56 percent of Harder’s total donations for the 2020 campaign. 

Daniel Gligich is a reporter for The San Joaquin Valley Sun, focusing on Fresno State Athletics and the southern San Joaquin Valley. Email him at daniel.gligich@sjvsun.com.