Politics

Magsig shifts gears, launches challenge to McClintock

Fresno County Supervisor Nathan Magsig is changing course, seeking a longer term in the nation’s Capitol than previously expected.

Late last year, Magsig was one of the first candidates to enter the race to replace former Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Tulare) after he announced his retirement to spearhead President Donald Trump’s new media corporation.

But with the California Redistricting Commission radically altering the state’s Congressional map, the winner of the special election for the expiring District 22 will likely only be in office for a short period.

The new, overlapping district will swing in partisanship from heavily Republican to a solid blue Democratic seat.

Instead, Magsig announced Monday that he is shifting his campaign for the new 5th Congressional District, setting up a showdown against seven-term representative Tom McClintock (R–Elk Grove).

“More than a month ago, I announced my candidacy to replace an incredible leader, Rep. Devin Nunes,” Magsig said in a statement.

“In the ensuing weeks, it has become clear that the pathway for an all-but-certain June special election for the old 22nd Congressional district means that the winner of the race will serve in Congress for no more than 40 working days.

“After prayerful reflection and consultation with my family and supporters, our region deserves longer term leadership in Congress. For that reason, I am foregoing the 22nd District Special Election.”

The new District 5 includes parts of north Fresno, north Turlock and north Modesto while ranging along the inner half of the Sierra Nevada Mountains through California’s gold country from El Dorado County to Fresno County.

Republicans hold an 11.52 advantage in voter registration over Democrats and supported Trump by a 12.30 margin over President Joe Biden in 2020.

With the district encompassing many areas devastated by wildfires over the past few years, Magsig argued for the importance of forest management and his efforts to push back against environmental groups.

“Wide swaths of Fresno County foothills were turned to ash in the Creek Fire, at the time the worst wildfire in California’s history,” Magsig said.

“While Gov. Gavin Newsom and Kamala Harris staged photo-ops in the rubble, I spent weeks coordinating with Cal Fire and the U.S. Forest Service fire crews to relieve the burden of communicating to my neighbors about rescue operations and whether their homes were still standing.

“Out of the ashes, I’ve fought harder than ever against the legal tricks utilized by well-funded, far-flung environmental groups to turn every available law and regulation into stumbling blocks to responsibly manage our forests, making wildfires deadlier in the process.”

Magsig, a former Clovis City Councilman and Mayor, was first elected to the Fresno County Board of Supervisors in 2016, representing Clovis and the easter swath of the county.

Monday’s announcement, however, comes after the chair of the Fresno County Republican Party and seven others endorsed McClintock.

McClintock also revealed Monday morning that he received the endorsement of Fresno City Councilman Garry Bredefeld, who represents the northeast Fresno portion of the new 5th district.

Daniel Gligich is a reporter for The San Joaquin Valley Sun, focusing on Fresno State Athletics and the southern San Joaquin Valley. Email him at daniel.gligich@sjvsun.com.