Heated 2024 battles for Fresno Co. Supervisor hone in on money, motivation

Arcane campaign finance rules and personal spats are taking center stage in the 2024 races for Fresno County Supervisor.

Come next March, the Fresno County Hall of Records could begin to resemble nearby Fresno City Hall. 

Two members of the Fresno County Board of Supervisors are facing an impending invasion from the city as they gear up for the 2024 election cycle. 


Driving the news: Last weekend Fresno City Councilman Garry Bredefeld announced that he will run for the 2nd District on the board, currently represented by former colleague Steve Brandau. 

  • A few days after Bredefeld’s announcement, Fresno City Councilman Luis Chavez issued one of his own. He will challenge his former mentor Sal Quintero for the District 3 position on the board. 

The big picture: The normally quiet board could be the stage for high-profile, intra-party battles not usually seen in Fresno. 

  • Quintero is reportedly not shying away from the challenge and will run for reelection in 2014 against Chavez, who was his chief of staff when he served on the Fresno City Council. Quintero has held the seat since 2017. 
  • Neither is Brandau, who vacated his seat on the city council in 2019 when he won a special election for the District 2 seat, then vacated by former State Sen. Andreas Borgeas (R–Fresno). 

By the numbers: Brandau’s latest campaign finance filings show $173,619 on-hand nearly 13 months ahead of the primary. Bredefeld last reported $228,388 from his city council campaign account, giving him an edge as the pair start fundraising. 

  • The Democratic race for District 3 shows the same story as the Republican race does so far in north Fresno. 
  • Luis Chavez’s latest cash-on-hand total comes in at $110,018.42, compared to $74,498.64 for Quintero. 

What we’re watching: The current financial edge both council members boast could be a moot point if certain legal interpretations stick.

  • The county passed an ordinance in 2020 on the heels of Assembly Bill 571, which was approved by California lawmakers in 2019 and required cities and counties the ability to set campaign contribution limits or be subject to state levels. 
  • County officials have asserted that the county’s campaign finance ordinance limits the amount of money that can be transferred from City Council campaign war chests at $30,000 per election (primaries and general elections are considered separate elections).
  • If the County interpretation holds, it could see Bredefeld and Chavez’s financial power dissipate fast. 

What they’re saying: In an interview with KMJ earlier in the week, Bredefeld said his decision to run against Brandau is nothing personal. It’s just where he thinks he is called to serve best since he is going to be termed out from the council in two years. 

  • “It’s not about Steve Brandau. It’s really about what I think I have to offer people in our community, and I think people understand who I am and what I do and that I’m going to fight for them. I’m not going to back down,” Bredefeld said. “We live in very perilous times, and I think my voice and my fighting spirit is needed at the county. It was needed during the pandemic where many people were silent, where bureaucrats were running things. We can’t have that, and I’m not going to stand by silently while that continues.” 
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