Bryan Osorio, Delano’s 25-year-old Mayor, files to challenge Valadao in ’22

The progressive Delano Mayor is taking the plunge against Rep. David Valadao (R–Hanford) amid growing chatter that a Kern County giant is eyeing to jump into the race.

Bryan Osorio, the 25-year-old Mayor of Delano, has filed paperwork to challenge Rep. David Valadao (R–Hanford) for his south Valley Congressional seat in 2022.

Osorio, who was elected to the Delano City Council in 2018, was selected by his colleagues to serve as Mayor last December.

Delano, like many rural Central Valley communities, operates on a Council-Manager form of government where the Mayoral title is rotated among the City Council body.

Osorio, a strident progressive who backed Bernie Sanders in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary season, was featured in a Sanders campaign video alongside two other rising San Joaquin Valley Hispanic elected officials: Arvin Mayor Jose Gurrola and Kingsburg City Councilwoman Jewel Hurtado.

He also has been an outspoken advocate against Kern County’s energy sector, throwing his support behind a now-failed piece of legislation to ban new fracking permits in the state and outlaw the practice altogether by 2035.

Shortly after the bill failed, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order banning new fracking permits by 2024 and halting all oil extraction in the state by 2045.

Currently, two other candidates are vying to challenge Valadao in November 2022: former Assemblywoman Nicole Parra (D–Bakersfield) and former Fresno City Councilman Chris Mathys (R–Fresno).

Valadao’s one-time successor and now predecessor, former Rep. TJ Cox (D–Fresno) announced he was converting his campaign committee into a political action group to increase youth and minority voter participation.

He has stated he is awaiting the new district boundaries, drawn by California’s citizen-led redistricting commission, before taking the plunge for a third time in four years.

The Delano Mayor’s announcement may serve as an attempt to pre-empt a bigger entrant from the Golden Empire.

Osorio’s announcement comes amid ever-louder chatter in Kern County that Asm. Rudy Salas (D–Bakersfield) – a long-sought, top recruit for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee – is likely to join the fray in challenging Valadao.

Photo: University of California

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