Politics

Sen. Andreas Borgeas to forego 2022 re-election

Sen. Andreas Borgeas (R–Fresno) will not run for re-election in either of two nearby Senate districts for what would have been his second term, he announced Tuesday, capping a 13-year political career in the Fresno area.

“After careful consideration I have decided not to pursue re-election to the California State Senate,” Borgeas said in a statement. “It has been an extraordinary honor and privilege to serve the nearly one-million residents in the eleven counties of the 8th Senate District.”

“Anna and I would like to express our deepest appreciation to our family, friends, and everyone who has supported my tenure in public service,” his statement continued. “I look forward to remaining politically engaged and keeping up the good fight for our community in a future capacity.”

News of Borgeas’ prospective exit comes after a wild December.

California’s hectic redistricting process offered Borgeas two paths for re-election.

The more difficult route was the 12th Senate District, which spans from North Fresno to Bakersfield and includes the city of Clovis. This seat raised the prospect of a Republican-on-Republican affair between Borgeas and Sen. Shannon Grove (R–Bakersfield).

The other route? The sprawling 4th Senate District, which ran from Lake Tahoe to Death Valley and included large chunks of Stanislaus County and the Madera Ranchos. Running in this district would have required Borgeas to putatively relocate a little more than 10 miles from his home.

The once-in-a-decade redraw of boundaries also offered up another, long-sought opportunity: a could-be, would-be vacancy in Congress.

Following the announcement of former Rep. Devin Nunes’ (R–Tulare) retirement in December, Borgeas announced the launch of an exploratory committee to run for Congress.

Last week, he announced he was closing the committee following news that Rep. Tom McClintock (R–Elk Grove) would be seeking the Fresno-anchored 5th Congressional Seat in 2022.

A native of the Phoenix area, Fulbright Scholar, and graduate of Georgetown Law School, Borgeas moved to Fresno following a stint with San Diego white shoe law firm Luce Forward to serve as a judicial law clerk for U.S. District Court Judge Oliver Wanger.

In 2007, he announced a bid for Fresno City Council. A year later, he defeated now-Councilman Mike Karbassi to take the seat representing northwest Fresno.

During his sole term at Fresno City Hall, he, alongside then-Mayor Ashley Swearengin and future Mayor Lee Brand, would confront municipal finances in disarray as Fresno sought to stave off possible bankruptcy and reorient pension liabilities.

In 2012, following the retirement of Fresno County Supervisor Susan Anderson, Borgeas opted to forego reelection and run for the open seat.

He defeated Fresno businessman Larry Fortune in what was then the most expensive Fresno County election in the county’s history.

He would be re-elected with no opposition in 2016 before making the leap to the State Senate in 2018, succeeding termed-out Sen. Tom Berryhill (R–Twain Harte) before his passing.

In December 2020, Borgeas was tapped by Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins (D–San Diego) to serve as chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee. The appointment made him the first Republican to chair a Senate Committee since 2012.

He currently serves as Vice Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee and serves on eight other committees including: Governmental Organization; Energy, Utilities and Communications; Insurance; Joint Legislative Audit; Pandemic Emergency Response; Cybersecurity and Identity Theft Prevention; California, Armenia & Artsakh Mutual Trade, Art & Cultural Exchange; and California’s Wine Industry.

Outside of elected office, Borgeas has served as a professor of international law for Clovis-based San Joaquin College of Law and as an adjunct professor at the Monterey-based Middlebury Institute of International Studies.

Alex Tavlian is the Executive Editor of The San Joaquin Valley Sun and Executive Director of Valley Future Foundation. You can reach Alex at alex.tavlian@sjvsun.com.