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Three fight to represent Lodi, Galt in Congress

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Posted: Saturday, May 12, 2012 12:00 am | Updated: 6:35 am, Mon May 14, 2012.

The June primary ballot will be quite different this year, with newly drawn congressional and legislative districts and voters casting their ballots for the first time in the "open primary format."

Regardless of party registration, voters will see two Republicans and a Democrat on the newly formed 9th Congressional District primary ballot to serve the Lodi and Galt area. Voters approved the open primary format in June 2010.

The election is June 5, but absentee ballots — now called "vote by mail" — became available May 7.

Rep. Jerry McNerney, a Democrat who moved from Pleasanton to Stockton on May 1, is a three-term incumbent. The two GOP hopefuls are Ricky Gill of Lodi and John McDonald of Mountain House.

The top two vote-getters will square off in the November general election.

New district

The 9th Congressional District, created by the California Citizens Redistricting Commission last year, encompasses most of San Joaquin County, plus Galt, Brentwood, Oakley and Antioch.

This year's congressional race features McNerney, a five-year veteran in the House, facing Gill, who turned 25 on May 6 while touting his Lodi and San Joaquin County roots, and McDonald, who says his greater experience in the workplace gives him skills that fellow Republican Gill doesn't have.

Democrats have registration edge

Democrats have an 8 percent edge over Republicans in District 9 as of Jan. 3, according to the California Secretary of State's Office. But all three candidates interpret the numbers differently. McNerney says that Democrats now have a 9 percent edge, while Gill says that the Democratic advantage has dropped to 7.5 percent as of April. McDonald maintains that if you eliminate the people who don't vote, the Democrats' edge is only 5 percent.

Campaign fundraising

McNerney and Gill are running neck and neck in raising money for the election. According to federal election figures, McNerney has raised $1,108,020 — about $14,000 more than Gill. McDonald trails with slightly more than $40,000.

As for "cash on hand" — the amount each candidate has remaining after bills are paid — Gill has $988,000-plus, compared to McNerney's $938,000. McDonald trails with about $29,000 cash on hand.

Contact reporter Ross Farrow at rossf@lodinews.com.

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