After a bit of mulling, Merced Mayor Mike Murphy opted against challenging long-time Rep. Jim Costa (D–Fresno) in 2020.
In a statement released Thursday morning, Murphy said the large overlap between a Congressional bid and his final year in office was a sizeable factor in deciding against a run.
“2020 will be my final year as mayor and there are still a lot of important projects that I want to get across the finish line while I am in office,” Murphy said in a statement. “Devoting my final year as Mayor to a congressional race would detract from that focus.”
Murphy initially hinted at a possible bid against Costa earlier this month. Despite being currently registered as a Republican, Murphy considered running without party affiliation.
As it stands, Costa is already facing the largest field of challengers in his eight terms in the House of Representatives.
Currently, two Democrats – Fresno City Councilwoman Esmeralda Soria and Kim Williams – and a Republican, Kevin Cookingham, are taking on the long-time Fresno legislator.
As of the most recent fundraising figures, Soria leads the crop of challengers in the dash for campaign dash. In her first fundraising quarter, she hauled in $153,085.36.
By comparison, Cookingham and Williams raised roughly $25,000 and $21,000, respectively.
Thursday, Soria announced that she picked up the endorsement of State Sen. Anna Caballero (D–Salinas).
Costa currently holds a considerable cash-on-hand advantage, with more than $575,532.54 and major statewide endorsements including those of California’s U.S. Senators, Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris.
The 16th Congressional District covers portions of Fresno, Madera, and Merced counties.