STOCKTON (KCBS) – The race for California’s redrawn District 9 is one being watched closely on a national level as the all-out Congressional battle wages on between Democratic incumbent Jerry McNerney and Republican challenger Ricky Gill.

Because of redistricting, District 9 now stretches from San Joaquin County to South Sacramento County and reaches into the East Contra Costa communities of Brentwood and Antioch. McNerney had based his office out of Pleasanton, but now is focusing mainly on the Central Valley, where most of District 9 covers.

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KCBS’ Margie Shafer Reports:

The 25-year-old Gill has been identified as a “young gun” by the Republican National Congressional Committee and he is hoping his local ties prove to be an advantage in the Democrat-leaning district.

At a recent debate between the two candidates, Gill took McNerney to task about a major pipeline project.

“He and I disagree on the Keystone Pipeline. I would have voted for it,” Gill said.

McNerney countered that the project could harm water.

“There’s a huge opportunity for a crack in the pipes,” he said.

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Both cited opposition to a tunnel transporting water to Southern California and Southern San Joaquin Valley.

“We worked to stand up to Senator Feinstein, to Governor Brown, to the Obama administration. We’re doing everything we possibly can to prevent this from happening,” said McNerney.

“We have to oppose it. It is our greatest industry on the line,” said Gill.

McNerney helped secure funds for a veterans medical center in San Joaquin County. “My opponent sent out a fundraising solicitation where he said I can’t bear the thought of losing my seat to someone who won’t care about our nation’s veterans. I don’t think that’s right,” said Gill.

He said that veterans are a cross-partisan priority and took his own shot at McNerney in an ad stating, “He gave a bailout – he took the payout.”

The race right now is seen as a toss-up.

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