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This new House Democrat raised more money than Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

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A rookie California congressman who flipped a Republican seat last fall has raised more money for re-election than any other freshman Democrat, even outpacing members who have become household names such as Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar.

That’s bad news for Republicans, who have listed Rep. Josh Harder, D-Turlock, as a top target in 2020 in the GOP’s bid to reclaim a majority in the House of Representatives.

Harder brought about $870,000 in the first quarter of 2019. Harder also has about $790,000 in cash on hand.

Harder raised more than $8.4 million for the 2018 midterm election to defeat four-term incumbent Republican Rep. Jeff Denham. Denham raised about $4.9 million for the race, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

“Josh does well because he’s part of a new generation that’s focused on stuff people at home care about — health care, jobs, and water,” a campaign spokesman for Harder said.

Ted Howze, a Republican and former Turlock city councilman who declared early on that he would challenge Harder, raised about $30,000 in the first quarter and has about $320,000 in cash on hand from loans to his campaign, according to campaign finance records.

“We don’t have to raise as much money as Josh Harder, we just have to raise enough to get our message out,” Howze said, citing housing affordability and availability of health care as some of his major issues.

Harder’s total was more than New York’s Ocasio-Cortez, a freshman congressman and progressive darling known for an ambitious environmental bill called the Green New Deal. She raised about $730,000 for the quarter.

Minnesota’s Omar, another member who has gained widespread notoriety in conflicts with President Donald Trump, posted the second-most to Harder, about $830,000.

Both of their districts are safer bets for Democrats than Harder’s.

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