Soria launches bid for open Assembly seat

Fresno City Councilwoman Esmeralda Soria revealed her next move on Friday as she wraps up her final year on the Fresno City Council.

Soria announced she will be running for the newly-drawn 27th Assembly District, a seat which spans Fresno, Madera, and Merced counties.

“I’ve been a lifelong advocate,” Soria told McClatchy on Friday. “I was born and raised here in this Valley. I know these communities extremely well. I have experience growing up in a rural city in a family with farmworkers, a poor working-class family.”

For weeks, Soria was rumored to be seeking a State Senate seat that covered her native south Valley home of Lindsay. But the Tower District lawmaker made the switch as part of a short week full of political dominoes.

It began on Tuesday with the announcement that Rep. Jerry McNerney (D–Stockton) would not seek re-election to his north Valley Congressional seat.

Shortly thereafter, Rep. Josh Harder (D–Turlock) announced he would seek McNerney’s 9th Congressional District in 2022. Asm. Adam Gray (D–Merced), who was slated to run for re-election in the 27th Assembly District, opted to run for the 13th Congressional Seat that Harder originally was seeking.

Voters in the 27th Assembly District should have more than ample familiarity with Soria. In 2020, she waged an unsuccessful primary challenge to Rep. Jim Costa (D–Fresno) in the old 16th Congressional district, which spanned much of the same territory.

The new Assembly district includes portions of her City Council district. Soria told the paper she would be finalizing a move “a few neighborhoods over” from her current home to meet state residency requirements ahead of the filing deadline for the race.

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