Rep. Dennis Cardoza said Friday he'll run for reelection for a fourth term, representing the 18th congressional district.
"I'm pleased and fired up that I'm running again, and we will win in 2010," the congressman told an audience of about 1,000, according to a news release from his office.
Cardoza's 18th district contains Merced County and parts of Stanislaus, San Joaquin Fresno and Madera counties.
"The country right now is in one hell of a fix. Neither party, nor any president, is solely responsible for the problems — but we have to work together to correct them," Cardoza said.
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Mike Berryhill, a Turlock Irrigation District director and a member of a prominent political family, is running against Cardoza. Berryhill, 62, is a Ceres rancher and a Republican.
"Someone needs to step up to the plate and take on Dennis Cardoza," Berryhill told the Modesto Bee in August. "He's really had a free ride in the last couple of elections. I feel like the people in our area are not being represented."
Berryhill is a former Ceres Unified School District trustee and has served on the TID board since 1983. His term expires this year, and he's not running for reelection.
Cardoza said he supports health care reform, "but I will not vote for a bill that is half-baked and fails to accomplish that purpose."
Cardoza is a self-described Blue Dog Democrat. The Web site for the group says they are "conservative Democrats that do not support abortion, gay marriages or gun control. There are other issues. Primarily, securing the border to stop the flow of drugs into the United States and the hemorrhage of manufacturing jobs leaving the United States for other countries."
Merced Mayor Ellie Wooten, a Republican, endorsed Cardoza's approach to government, the congressman's news release said. "I trust Dennis. He says he'll do something, and then he does it," Wooten said. She was joined in her endorsement by Merced County District Attorney Larry Morse.
West Side grower Earl Perez said Cardoza has "always been for us on water issues, state and federal regulations, and common sense policies."
Another agricultural leader, Marie Assali, said, "We have no better person in Washington fighting for our industry and our water."