Highlight · Politics

The fields are set: here’s who is running in the March Primary

With less than three months until polls close in California’s March Presidential Primary, candidates vying for a bevy of offices have finally filed to have their names appear on the ballot.

Here’s a look at the various key races across the San Joaquin Valley:

16th Congressional District

Candidates: Jim Costa (D-Inc.), Esmeralda Soria (D), Kim Williams (D), Kevin Cookingham (R).

Rep. Jim Costa (D–Fresno) will face the most diverse field in his Congressional career.

For the first time since he captured his seat in Congress in 2004, Costa will face a primary challenge from within his own party.

Two Democrats, Fresno City Councilwoman Esmeralda Soria and Merced resident Kim Williams, will take on Costa along with Republican educator Kevin Cookingham of Fresno.

21st Congressional District

Candidates: TJ Cox (D-Inc.), David Valadao (R).

It’s a rematch after all.

The final Congressional race to be decided in 2018 concluded with TJ Cox capturing the south Valley seat by 862 votes. Now, it’s set for a redux.

David Valadao, the Hanford dairy farmer who held the seat since it was drawn in 2012, announced in August he would take the plunge to retake the seat in 2020.

For a brief moment, Farmersville City Councilman Ruben Macareno announced he would seek the seat (despite residing in the neighboring 22nd Congressional district). Last week, he announced he would not file paperwork to run.

22nd Congressional District

Candidates: Devin Nunes (R-Inc.), Phil Arballo (D), Bobby Bliatout (D), Eric Garcia (NPP), Dary Rezvani (D).

As the spotlight once again settles on the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Devin Nunes (R–Tulare) will face three Democrats and an unaffiliated candidate in the March Primary.

Nunes faced a $9 million assault in 2018 led by Fresno County prosecutor Andrew Janz (more about him below) and outside Democratic groups.

Running simultaneously against Janz and The Fresno Bee, Nunes managed a six-point victory en route to his ninth term in the House.

This year, Democratic efforts have been divided. Early in the cycle, Janz endorsed Arballo to take on Nunes in November. Since then, considerable resources – from Janz’s coveted fundraising juggernaut.

23rd Congressional District

Candidates: Kevin McCarthy (R-Inc.), Kim Mangone (D).

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R–Bakersfield) faces a challenge from Air Force veteran Kim Mangone in his GOP stronghold district anchored in Kern County.

California State Assembly

Both Assemblyman Jim Patterson (R–Fresno), who represents the northern Fresno County-centric Assembly district, and foothills-based Frank Bigelow (R–O’Neals) will run unopposed in 2020.

Assemblyman Joaquin Arambula (D–Fresno) will face off against businessman Fernando Banuelos (R–Parlier).

Assemblyman Devon Mathis (R–Visalia) is being challenged by Granville Homes project manager Drew Phelps (D–Tulare).

Assemblyman Rudy Salas (D–Bakersfield) will square off against former Kings County Sheriff’s Deputy Todd Cotta.

Assemblyman Vince Fong (R–Bakersfield), who reps Kern County, will face Valley Fever advocate Julie Solis (D–Bakersfield).

County Supervisors

Fresno County will not see a single contested Supervisor seat in 2020. Sal Quintero and Nathan Magsig, both elected in 2016, will run unopposed.

Similarly, Steve Brandau – who was elected in a three-way special election in March to replace now-State Sen. Andreas Borgeas (R–Fresno), also will seek a full term as a Supervisor unopposed.

Across the San Joaquin River, it appears as though Madera County Supervisor Roby Poythress will run unopposed – having been the only prospective candidate to file paperwork and pay the filing fee.

And there will be a three-way battle to replace Madera County Supervisor Max Rodriguez. Leticia Gonzalez, Rodriguez’s chief of staff, is vying to replace her boss. She will square off against businessman Ricardo Arredondo and college student Eddie Block.

In Tulare, two freshman Supervisors elected in 2016 – Amy Shuklian and Kuyler Crocker – will face challengers.

Former KMJ host Brad Maaske is taking on Shuklian. Meanwhile, former Tulare County Sheriff’s Deputy Larry Micari and Exeter Mayor Robyn Stearns are challenging Crocker.

In Kings County, longtime Supervisor Richard Fagundes will square off against longtime educator and former St. Rose-McCarthy School principal Mike Mendoza. Meanwhile, Supervisor Richard Valle is running unopposed.

And in Kern County, Supervisor David Couch will undergo his second electoral battle in two years, this time against labor lawyer Emilio Huerta, for the northern Kern seat redrawn after a Federal voting rights case.

Supervisor Leticia Perez, still awaiting trial on a conflict of interest case, will face three challengers: businessman David Abbasi, El Popular sales manager Ronnie Cruz, and Greenfield Union School District trustee Ricardo Herrera.

And with Supervisor Mick Gleason opting against re-election, his staffer Philip Peters has taken the plunge in 2020. He will face Daures Stephens, a member of the South Fork Union School District Board.

Mayors

The marquee race for Fresnans will wind up being its Mayor’s battle. While most know that retired Police Chief Jerry Dyer and Fresno County prosecutor Andrew Janz are squaring off.

However, there are a number of other candidates that will share the ballot with Dyer and Janz: Rev. Floyd Harris Jr., businessman Bill Gates, and recording artist Nickolas Wildstar.

GVWire provides a great breakdown of the various other candidates running for Mayor of Fresno.

Bakersfield Mayor Karen Goh is facing former Senate candidate Gregory Tatum and former Mayoral candidate Joseph Caporal in March.

City Council

A quiet Fresno County ballot extends down to the City Council, too.

Garry Bredefeld, who returned to City Hall in 2016, and Mike Karbassi, who captured his northwest Fresno seat in a six-man August special election, are headed for a smooth, unopposed March re-elections.

The remaining open seat, currently held by termed out Councilman Paul Caprioglio, promises to be among the most heated races on the March 3 ballot, alongside the Fresno Mayor’s race.

Two candidates filed to run: Nathan Alonzo, the Community Relations director for the Caglia Family of Companies, and Tyler Maxwell, Council Assistant to Fresno City Councilman Nelson Esparza.

Superior Court Judge

Fresno County has two open Superior Court Judge seats.

With Judge Alan Simpson retiring, former Fresno County District Attorney Elizabeth Egan and Fresno County prosecutor Doug Treisman filed to run to replace him and move to the bench.

Both have already picked up high profile endorsements: Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims backing Egan and Fresno County District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp with Treisman.

Meanwhile, Fresno County prosecutor Gabe Brickey is running unchallenged to replace the retiring Judge Don Penner.

The San Joaquin Valley Sun
Staff reports from The San Joaquin Valley Sun staff.