More than a week after Election Day, former Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer captured the ultimate prize at stake in Fresno County’s March Primary: the Mayoralty of the City of Fresno.
In an update released on Wednesday afternoon by Fresno County Clerk Brandi Orth, Dyer maintained 51.81 percent of the vote. His nearest competitor, prosecutor Andrew Janz, held 39.9 percent of the vote.
To avoid a run-off in November, Dyer needed to acquire 50 percent plus one vote. With approximately 3,000 absentee and provisional ballots left to count across Fresno County, Wednesday’s update became a mathematical certainty that Dyer would be elected.
In the process, Dyer became the first Mayor elected outright in a primary election since Fresno switched to a strong mayor form of government in 1997.
In a press conference at Fresno City Hall on Wednesday, Dyer noted how emotional the victory was for him.
“When I found out the news today, I was in tears,” Dyer said, flanked by his wife Diane. “The first thing I did do was fall on my knees and thank God for allowing me to become mayor of this city.”
Despite a March victory, Dyer won’t take office until January 2021. With more than 8 months to transition into office, the new Mayor-Elect announced he would spend considerable time studying the operations of the City’s departments and hire an outside consultant to review some top-concern departments, such as planning and permitting.
A key item still to be resolved for Dyer and current Mayor Lee Brand? Hiring a permanent police chief.
Dyer’s successor at the Fresno Police Department, Andy Hall, is set to retire in 2021.
During his victory press conference, Dyer said Brand invited him to participate in the search process for a permanent replacement of Hall.
“I don’t think there is any police chief candidate in the country – let alone internally – who would take that position unless the incoming mayor is part of that decision-making process,” he said of his involvement.
Dyer will also face a new City Council. In the east-central City Council district currently represented by Paul Caprioglio, council assistant Tyler Maxwell appears to have captured the seat over community relations director Nathan Alonzo.
Maxwell’s election translates to a four-vote liberal bloc comprised with Miguel Arias, Esmeralda Soria, and Nelson Esparza.
School bonds take a beating
Beyond a shake-up at Fresno’s City Hall, a trio of school bond proposals were among the biggest surprises of the March Primary.
Only one school bond within the confines of the City of Fresno, Fresno Unified’s Measure M, appears headed for passage, with 59.47 percent of voters casting ballots for approval, exceeding the needed 55 percent.
Meanwhile, Clovis and Central Unified School Districts are in the midst of campaign shock.
Clovis Unified’s Measure A is underwater, with 50.57 percent of voters voting against approving the bond measure.
Central Unified’s Measure C sits 0.4 percent shy of approval, with 54.61 percent of voters casting ballots for approval.
In sum, five of seven Fresno County school bonds are on track to be defeated in the March Primary.