A contender for the open Fresno City Council seat currently held by termed-out lawmaker Garry Bredefeld had a key GOP endorsement pulled after attending a meeting with Hamas-friendly advocates and issuing support for a cease-fire resolution from the United Nations for the war between Israel and Hamas.
The backstory: Along with candidates in other races, Council contender Nick Richardson met with pro-Palestinian activists last month.
- Richardson, who is running for the heavily-conservative northeast Fresno City Council seat, was joined by Councilman Miguel Arias, who is running for the Fresno County Board of Supervisors in District 3, City Council District 2 candidate Matthew Gillian and County Supervisor candidate for District 2 Bryce Herrera.
- Attendees included a number of activists who have issued harsh attacks against the Fresno City Council and Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer during meetings dating back to Oct. 7 terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians by Hamas.
- Richardson, a Republican, entered the meeting with the backing of the California Republican Assembly, a local conservative volunteer organization of the California GOP.
The big picture: A video from the meeting shows that Richardson was asked about his stance on a cease-fire resolution.
- Richardson said he is a “huge fan of the cease-fire,” saying it needs to be agendized and prioritized by the United Nations.
- At the local level, Richardson said he would like to see a resolution from the city council telling the people of Fresno that the city has their back and is there for them. He did not say that he would support a resolution from the Fresno City Council calling for a cease-fire.
The fallout: Mere weeks after winning the California Republican Assembly endorsement, Richardson – according to a prebuttal video – said he received a call saying the Assembly had revoked its endorsement of him and flipped its support to another candidate.
- The City Council contender said the group revoked its endorsement because he had attended the meeting.
- In the confessional, Richardson said the otherwise Palestine-focused candidate forum was organized to to talk about safety in schools, religious freedom and Constitutional rights. However, virtually every piece of footage from the meeting (viewable here, here and here) show an inordinate focus on the Israel-Palestine issue.
- The Sun reached out to the Fresno County Republican Assembly for a statement regarding the endorsement process, but did not receive a reply prior to publication.
What they’re saying: “After this meeting some individuals – namely some from the Fresno County Republican Assembly, and some others from around town – had suspected that I was cavorting with groups who were less than savory, or this or that, throwing this name or that name out,” Richardson said in the video. “And I can assure you that wasn’t the case whatsoever.”