Could the fight for a Fresno City Council seat be over before it begins?

The first fundraising figures are out for two candidates vying to replace termed-out Fresno City Councilwoman Esmeralda Soria in 2022.

With the odd numbered Fresno City Council districts facing an election in 2022, District 1 council member Esmeralda Soria will be the lone incumbent terming out of office. 

As of this writing, two candidates have entered the race to vie for Soria’s spot: public relations executive Cary Catalano and State Center Community College Trustee Annalisa Perea. 


Looking at their 2020 fundraising numbers, however, begs the question: Is the race over before it even started? 

Their fundraising totals are night and day. Catalano received $1,672.06 in total contributions, including $1,500 in cash. 

That $1,500 cash total came from one donor: The local Amalgamated Transit Union, which represents the city’s bus drivers. 

On the other side, Perea received $122,518 in cash donations from roughly 115 different donors. 

Perea’s donor base was made up of a wide variety across the spectrum in Fresno, including a supermajority of members on the City Council. 

Among the notables from Perea’s donor list:

  • Fresno City Councilman Miguel Arias – $200
  • Fresno City Councilman Nelson Esparza – $100
  • [Mike] Karbassi for Fresno City Council District 2, 2020 – $500
  • [Esmeralda] Soria for City Council 2018 – $1,500
  • Tyler Maxwell for Fresno City Council 2020 – $4,200
  • Assemi Group – $2,350
  • State Center Community College Trustee Richard Caglia – $500
  • California Assemblyman Jesse Gabriel (D–Encino) – $500
  • [Melissa] Hurtado for Senate 2022 – $4,700
  • James Martinez for Fresno County Board of Education Trustee Area 3 2020 – $250
  • Louis Franco Selma Mayor 2020 – $1,000
  • Henry R. Perea – $4,700
  • Henry T. Perea – $1,500
  • San Joaquin Valley Latino Leaders PAC – $4,000
  • State Center Federation of Teachers, AFT Local 1533 Fresno – $2,500

Catalano and Perea will likely face off 16 months from now in California’s gubernatorial primary on June 7, 2022.

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