Former NASA astronaut and Democratic congressional candidate Jose Hernandez lost his race in California’s 10th District to incumbent Republican Jeff Denham in the Northern San Joaquin Valley.

The Mexican-American former NASA astronaut grew up working in the fields in Modesto with his parents and has made his personal story a big part of his appeal to voters. He lost his hard-fought battle to Denham, an almond farmer and Air Force veteran. Denham just completed his first term.

As expected, the race was close in a GOP-leaning area. Denham won 54 percent of the vote compared to Hernandez’s 46 percent. The campaign became heated and in some cases vicious thanks to nearly $12 million that have been infused into both campaigns from Super PACS.

Money was mainly used for vicious TV ads. California is as blue a state as can be, but both Republicans and Democrats viewed the 10th congressional district as a real battleground. The district, which is 40 percent Hispanic, is considered more politically balanced than ever after it was recently redrawn. 

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