Tangipa, Bulldog football player, announces bid for Calif. Assembly

The former Bulldog star has already picked up the endorsement of the outgoing incumbent, Asm. Jim Patterson.

Former Fresno State football player and current political staffer David Tangipa launched his campaign for Assembly District 8 on Tuesday, promising a voice for the Central Valley and the Sierra Nevada foothills. 

Tangipa is the first candidate to enter the race and has the support of Asm. Jim Patterson (R–Fresno), who is serving his last term in Sacramento, to be his successor. 


The backstory: Tangipa walked on to the Fresno State Football team in 2014 and was part of the conference championship winning team in 2018 during his senior season. 

  • Following his time at Fresno State, Tangipa was hired by Fresno County Supervisor Nathan Magsig, who he continues to work for as a field representative. 
  • He also works in real estate for modern Broker Inc. 

The big picture: Tangipa kicked off his candidacy at the Smittcamp Alumni House at Fresno State on Tuesday with widespread support from various Fresno area elected officials. 

  • He is positioning himself as a young conservative leader who will fight for water in the Central Valley, proper forest management and public safety. 
  • Along with support from Magsig, Tangipa also boasts endorsements from Supervisors Buddy Mendes and Steve Brandau, as well as Fresno County Sheriff John Zanoni, former Fresno County Sheriff Margareet Mims and Fresno County District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp. State Sen. Shannon Grove (R–Bakersfield) and Asm. Devon Mathis (R–Visalia) have also thrown their support behind Tangipa. He has also secured endorsements from Clovis City Councilmembers Vong Mouanoutoua, Diane Pearce, Matt Basgall and Drew Bessinger and Clovis Unified Board members Clint Olivier and Deeana Combs-Flores. 

What we’re watching: With Tangipa being the first to enter the race, one name is still hanging over the district as a possibility: Frank Bigelow. 

  • Bigelow, a Republican from Madera County, served in the Assembly until redistricting merged much of his former district with Patterson’s. He elected not to fight Patterson for the seat last year. 
  • Bigelow has not made an announcement on if he will seek another term in the Assembly after sitting out for two years. 

What they’re saying: Tangipa said he promises to fight for lower energy costs, to support large scale hydro energy production, to fight against Assembly Bills such as AB 985 – which would make farms in the Central Valley noncompliant with air pollution regulations – and to fight for the Sierra Nevada mountain communities to properly manage the forests. 

  • He added that he has been endorsed by Patterson “to carry on his efforts and continue to fight for sanity and safety.” 
  • District 8 spans parts of Fresno County – including north Fresno and Clovis – Madera County and Calaveras County and encompasses Inyo, Mono, Mariposa and Tuolumne Counties. 
  • “I think what most people want to see is that showing up is just 50 percent of the job, but then carrying their voice in the mountain communities, a group that feels that they’ve been left behind to Sacramento, is a lot of work that I plan on doing,” Tangipa said.
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