The Race for California's New 10th Congressional District

All over Modesto, five candidates for the new California 10th Congressional seat were pushing for votes until the last minute.

In the end, what could have been a test of California's new "Top Two" primary system, has turned into a November general election showdown between Republican Jeff Denham and Democrat Jose Hernandez.

The five candidate field for the district covering Stanislaus and south San Joaquin counties included familiar names like Denham and Independent candidate Chad Condit, son of former Valley congressman Gary Condit.

"I choose to be independent because I am independent. I represent the silent majority so to speak that are forgotten inWashington, D.C.The political parties, the most powerful organizations in our country, the Democratic and Republican National parties have forgotten the average folks," Condit told FOX40.

Even for Denham, a sitting representative, Tuesday's primary was a first. Denham currently represents California's 19th district, which meanders from Oakdale down to Chowchilla and Kerman. Due to redistricting set by the 2010 election, Denham's district changed, leaving him to stump with people he'd never represented before.

"Certainly south San Joaquin county was new to me, it was not part of my Senate seat or current congressional seat, so we spent a lot of time walking in Tracy, Manteca, Ripon, Escalon and getting to know a lot of new voters," Denham told FOX40.

While lacking the name recognition of Denham and Condit, Jose Hernandez brought star power to the primary race, as a NASA astronaut.

"Now it's a question of what kind of candidate, what kind of Congressman does South San Joaquin and Stanislaus County want," Hernandez told FOX40.

Rounding out the field of candidates were Manteca attorney and CPA Michael Barkley and 2007 Stanislaus State graduate Troy McComak.

The California 10th race between Hernandez and Denham will be closely watched nationwide come November. The Democratic National Committee considers the district a bellwether in the fight to take back the House of Representatives.

In a statement late Tuesday night, Hernandez said he is excited to continue his campaign.