Politics

Nunes exit sets off Valley Democrats’ own Congressional domino effect

With California’s topsy-turvy redistricting process reaching its peak, Central Valley Democrats are beginning to jockey for position to run for new seats and jobs in 2022.

The first report, via David Taub at GV Wire, finds that two Fresno Democrats are already attempting to stake claims for a to-be-drawn Congressional seat covering southern Fresno County amid the abrupt retirement of Rep. Devin Nunes (R–Tulare):

Fresno Assemblyman Joaquin Arambula is considering a congressional run, multiple sources tell GV Wire.

The Democrat is eying the seat — in the latest iteration — that would cover parts of Fresno, eastern Fresno County, and parts of Tulare and Kings counties.

GV Wire has also learned that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the official campaign arm of the House of Representative Democrats, has met with Andrew Janz.

Janz, a Fresno County prosecutor, ran against Devin Nunes in 2018, falling by five points. However, that was the closest showing of a Democrat ever during Nunes’ 10 terms.

When asked about the DCCC meeting, Janz offered no comment.

Sunday, Fresno City Council President Luis Chavez told KSEE 24 that he wasn’t yet considering pulling the trigger on a Congressional bid.

“Not right now,” he clarified to host Alexan Balekian, adding that he was strongly considering a run following finalized district boundaries from the state’s independent commission.

“I’ve had a lot of folks ask me to consider running, but I enjoy serving the community of southeast Fresno,” Chavez said. “Obviously, we’ve got to wait until the maps are final, then once the maps are final, I think you’ll see a lot of folks throw their hat into the ring.”

A Congressional run by Arambula or Chavez in 2022 would open up their respective seats in the California State Assembly and Fresno City Council during the 2022 election.

In the same GV Wire report, it appears that at least one name is floating to run should Arambula forego running for his fourth of six possible terms in the Legislature: Fresno City Council member Nelson Esparza.

Esparza, who represents central Fresno on the Fresno City Council, announced a candidacy to succeed Chavez as Council President in January is also up for re-election in 2022, opening another seat on the City Council.

One prospective candidate to fill the Council seat if Esparza takes the leap for Legislature? Fresno County Board of Education trustee James Martinez, the digital pub reports.

Les Hubbard is a contributing reporter for The San Joaquin Valley Sun.