Former Congressman George Radanovich announced Tuesday that he is running for the California Assembly to represent District 8.
Radanovich will vie to replace Asm. Jim Patterson (R–Fresno), who is finishing up his last term in office.
The big picture: With Radanovich entering the race, the battle to replace Patterson is heating up with local Republicans.
- Last week, former Fresno State football star tight end David Tangipa entered the race with widespread support of Fresno County elected officials, including Patterson, Fresno County Supervisors Nathan Magsig, Steve Brandau, and Buddy Mendes, and Fresno County District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp.
- Yet Radanovich boasts the support of former Asm. Frank Bigelow (R–O’Neals), who saw parts of his district merged with Patterson’s in the 2021 redistricting. Bigelow decided against an intra-Republican Party fight with Patterson last year and has once again decided to stay out of the race next year.
- John Harris, the owner of Harris Farms, also endorsed Radanovich on Tuesday.
The backstory: Radanovich served in Congress from 1995-2011, representing his home in Mariposa, north Fresno, Stanislaus County and other parts of the Sierra Nevada region.
- In 2016, Radanovich served as the President of the California Fresh Fruit Association, where he remained until 2019.
- Last year, he reentered the political scene with a run for State Senate in District 4, a newly-drawn highly Republican district anchored in the Sierra foothills.
- His run, however, was part of a disastrous showing for Republicans as he split the primary vote with two other GOP candidates, allowing two Democrats to advance to the general election in California’s top two primary system.
What they’re saying: In a statement launching his campaign, Radanovich pointed to crime, cost of living, homelessness, failing schools, infrastructure, water and transportation as important needs that have not been addressed by failed leadership in Sacramento.
- “This is the district where I was born, lived and farmed and where my family started a business in 1955,” Radanovich said. “The people here don’t want to give up on California, they want representatives who will fight for them and for a brighter future for their children.”
The other side: In a statement issued to The Sun, Tangipa stressed the focus of his campaign would be a vision of the future rather than a return to past policies.
- “This race is about the future of California. Not about Radanovich or anyone else, but about the State believing the government has the right to instill values and beliefs into your children or they will remove them from you.,” the Fresno State footballer said in a statement. “This is about my family and families across California struggling to pay for food because utility and energy cost are through the roof. This is about the valley farmers who have been demonized year after year for simply trying to feed America and the world. This race is about the foothill communities living in fear like my family waiting to see if they will be dropped from their insurance carrier or if a massive fire will remove them because of forest mismanagement.”