It may be one of the worst-kept local political secrets: Fresno County Supervisor Andreas Borgeas plans to run for the state Senate seat held by to-be-termed-out Tom Berryhill. But every time GV Wire asks Borgeas for an update, he balks at talking about it.
The primary is less than six months away — June 5, 2018, to be exact. And Borgeas has a decent sized war-chest. According to the Secretary of State, his “Borgeas for Senate 2018” campaign had $488,449.30 in cash as of the midpoint of 2017, the last reporting date. That includes a $216,000 transfer from his “Borgeas for Supervisor 2020” account to his Senate coffers.
The expansive district extends from Rancho Cordova in Sacramento County to the north, the Kern County line to the south, and the state border to the east.
All in all, the district spans 11 counties – Amador, Calaveras, Fresno, Inyo, Madera, Mariposa, Mono, Sacramento, Stanislaus, Tulare, and Tuolumne. Fresno County holds the most voters by a considerable amount, with 282,531. The next closest is Stanislaus, in which about 67,000 District 8 voters reside.
In terms of partisan divides, District 8 holds a pretty solid Republican advantage – a difference of about 38,324 voters and 8 percentage points.
Berryhill was elected to the Senate in 2010 and re-elected, with one Democratic challenger, in 2014. He also won an election to the Assembly in 2008.
Borgeas first won his supervisor seat in 2012 and was unopposed for re-election in 2016.
Competition for Borgeas?
Kristin Olsen at one time was the darling of the state Republican Party. She is the former party Assembly leader and former state party leader. She is now an elected supervisor in Stanislaus County. But following the state cap and trade vote, her estranged husband accused her of having an affair with then-Assembly leader Chad Mayes.
The Secretary of State reports Olsen maintaining a campaign account for the Senate seat of $478,172.48.
But, Olsen told GV Wire last week that while she has not determined her 2018 plans, she isn’t running for state Senate.
Other candidates listed on the Secretary’s website with substantial name recognition include Fresno City Councilman Clint Olivier and Fresno Assemblyman Jim Patterson.
While Olivier’s fundraising numbers ($15,782.03) may indicate he’s not in it to win it, he tells GV Wire he hasn’t officially pulled out.
Patterson publicly dropped out of the Senate race and will stand for re-election in the Assembly.
Another well-known politician, Debbie Poochigian, says she has no intention of running for the Senate seat either. Debbie Poochigian served as a county supervisor for eight years before deciding not to run for re-election in 2106. She says she has no interest in the Senate seat because of a lack of desire to travel.
She has not ruled out running for something more local in 2018. As of the last financial reporting date, Poochigian has $566,370.52 tucked away in the “Poochigian for Assessor-Recorder 2022” account. That cash could be transferred to another account if desired.
Republican party insiders say no other viable opponent has indicated they will seek Berryhill’s Senate seat.
Candidates have until March 9, 2018, to file.
The What If Game
If Borgeas wins, he would have to leave his supervisor seat, creating a vacancy for the remaining two years of the term.
According to the Fresno County Charter Sec. 8 (b), a vacancy would be filled by a special election, 75 to 90 days after Borgeas exited for the Senate. That person would serve until the term expires at the end of 2020.
Fresno is one of 14 charter counties in the state. That means the county sets its own rules to fill vacancies. For the remaining 44 general law counties, the governor would appoint someone to serve in the vacant seat.