Five people, including three new faces, are vying for two spots on the Clovis City Council in what has turned out to be the largest race in 13 years.
Lynne Ashbeck and Vong Mouanoutoua are running for reelection. Ashbeck was first elected in 2001 and is seeking her sixth term in office, while Mouanoutoua is vying for his second term after being elected in 2017.
Noha Elbaz, Herman Nagra and Diane Pearce are the three challengers for the March 2, 2021 at-large race. The top two vote getters out of the five will be elected to serve a term on the city council that will be four months shorter than usual.
Following this race Clovis will switch to holding elections in even-number years to go along with the general election. The two winners in the March 2021 race will have their seats up for election in November 2024 instead of March 2025. The other three Clovis City Council seats will be on the ballot in November 2022.
Ashbeck and Mouanoutoua were the only two candidates in the 2017 race, meaning they both were elected unopposed.
Ashbeck currently works at Valley Children’s Healthcare as the Senior Vice President of Community Engagement and Population Wellness.
Mouanoutoua also works in the health care industry as the Director of External Relations and Project Development for Community Medical Centers. He also is a lecturer at Fresno State in the linguistics department.
Six other people pulled papers to challenge the incumbents, but only Elbaz, Nagra and Pearce qualified by the deadline last week.
Elbaz is coming off a recent loss for a Clovis Unified School District Board of Education seat to incumbent Hugh Awtrey. She is the Regional Vice President of Operations at San Joaquin Valley College.
Nagra is a business owner who had a run in the news cycle last year after he was assaulted at the gas station which he manages.
Pearce currently serves as the president of the Fresno County and City Republican Women Federated. Her husband, Jeremy Pearce, ran for Fresno City Council in 2016 but lost to Garry Bredefeld.
Two names that emerged to some buzz in the waning days of the filing period – Tal Eslick and Jim Verros – opted not to run.
Verros, owner of Olympic Property Services, was rumored to run in 2017 during a special election following the death of long-time Councilman Harry Armstrong.
Verros told The Sun he would hold off on a run until the City of Clovis switched to by-district elections, evaluating the merits of a candidacy at that point.
Eslick, the former chief of staff to Rep. David Valadao (R–Hanford) and current public affairs consultant, recently moved back to Clovis from the Sacramento area, where he launched a new firm.
In a statement to The Sun, he cited a need to focus on raising his young family and running his business.
“I get along with too many people to be a good politician,” Eslick joked.