Andrew Janz ended speculation whether he is going to run for mayor of Fresno by filing his paperwork Friday afternoon.
He becomes the second candidate in the 2020 mayoral race, joining incumbent Lee Brand. The primary is scheduled for March 3, 2020.
“I welcome the opportunity to have voters compare my well-earned experience and record of accomplishment, highlighted by creating over 5,000 good-paying jobs with benefits, to his complete lack of experience and a track record that consists of saying ‘I’m not Devin Nunes.’ Will his new campaign be ‘I’m not Lee Brand’? To which I reply, “Yes, young man, you’re right. You’re not Lee Brand. You aren’t even close.” — Mayor Lee Brand
Although the Fresno mayoral race is nonpartisan, Janz is a Democrat, and Brand is a Republican.
A prosecutor in the Fresno County District Attorney’s office, Janz ran a high-profile campaign for Congress in 2018 against Devin Nunes. Although he did not win, Janz raised millions of dollars and earned a piece of the national spotlight.
According to Open Secrets, he raised $9 million, with $22,000 cash on hand remaining.
A recent GV Wire poll on the mayoral race shows Janz faring well, defeating Brand in a theoretical one-on-one contest. In a potential three-way race that includes Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer, the poll indicates that Dyer and Janz would make the November run-off.
Mayor Welcomes Challenger
Brand took a shot at his potential new competitor, asking voters to compare records.
“I welcome the opportunity to have voters compare my well-earned experience and record of accomplishment, highlighted by creating over 5,000 good-paying jobs with benefits, to his complete lack of experience and a track record that consists of saying ‘I’m not Devin Nunes.’ Will his new campaign be ‘I’m not Lee Brand’? To which I reply, “Yes, young man, you’re right. You’re not Lee Brand. You aren’t even close.”
Brand started campaigning for re-election last year. Campaign finance data shows he has $445,000 cash on hand.
Janz had no further comment on his filing, but does say he will hold a news conference later this week.
Supporters, Critics Comment
Janz’s announcement excited Fresno County Democratic Party chairman Michael Evans.
“Andrew Janz would be an excellent mayor of Fresno. He showed during his 2018 campaign for congress that he has the skill set and the commitment to our community to be a strong and effective leader for Fresno,” Evans said.
His former communications advisor on his congressional campaign, Clara Varner, looks forward to the run.
“It’s no secret that Fresno is ready for a change in leadership, for far too long we have been represented by politicians that don’t do enough for our community. I know Andrew Janz won’t forget about us. I’m looking forward to a formal announcement and hope he jumps in with both feet,” Varner, who is also president of Fresno County Young Democrats, said.
Michael Der Manouel Jr., a Fresno businessman, political commentator, and Nunes supporter, praised Brand and questioned Janz’s experience.
“I think a race for mayor should feature big contrasts, so a city can decide its direction. Mayor Lee Brand was one of the most consequential city council members in Fresno history, and he leads a city as financially healthy as any in the country, much of that directly related to his work. Andrew Janz has no executive nor business experience, but he definitely wants to get elected to something. We will see what Fresno wants in 2020, an experienced citizen leader, or not that,” Der Manouel said.