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Retired Clovis Unified Educator Is First 2020 Costa Challenger
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By David Taub, Senior Reporter
Published 5 years ago on
May 10, 2019

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Democrat Jim Costa has his first challenger for his congressional seat.

Kevin Cookingham, a retired educator with Clovis Unified, announced on Facebook he’s running for the 16th District office.

Photo of GV Wire's David Taub

David Taub

Politics 101

“This is something I need to do. In fact, I didn’t want to do it … but we need more conservatives in California,” Cookingham, a Republican, told Politics 101.

Cookingham retired last year from his position as director of adult education for Clovis Unified. He now sells real estate.

He says Costa isn’t doing enough with water legislation and jobs.

Cookingham is also concerned with the nation’s political ideology.

“I have a huge concern, especially with millennials and other people, who seem to think socialism is a good thing. I’ve never seen it work. It destroys incentives,” Cookingham said. “We look at Bernie Sanders. Who’s going to believe him? Who’s going to believe AOC (Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez)? Yet they have millions of followers.”

Costa, first elected to Congress in 2004, won his 2018 race over Republican Elizabeth Heng, with 58% of the vote.

“I have a huge concern, especially with millennials and other people, who seem to think socialism is a good thing. I’ve never seen it work. It destroys incentives.”Republican congressional candidate Kevin Cookingham

While Cookingham hasn’t filed to raise funds, Costa has pulled in $104,000 in 2019, with $121,000 cash on hand.

Cookingham will hold an official campaign kickoff event in September.

Nunes: Media Is the Enemy of Free Speech

Congressman Devin Nunes (R-Tulare) spoke to a state Republican women’s group last week in Fresno. Naturally, the media wasn’t notified or invited. Security reasons, Politics 101 is told.

Just as well, based on a brief Twitter recap from the Fresno City and County Republican Women Federated.

“The media is the enemy of the 1st Amendment,” the group reported Nunes as saying.

Nunes spoke at a California Federation of Republican Women event at the Piccadilly Inn this past Saturday (May 4).

His office did not respond to questions about the quote.

According to the Twitter feed, Nunes also talked about the Mueller report and called Democrats “the party of the super rich.”

Trump Tax Return Vote

Could Donald Trump not be on the 2020 presidential ballot in California?

A state bill, SB 27, requiring potential candidates to release their taxes passed the state Senate last week on a 27-10 vote.

The two Senatorial Democrats representing Fresno County, Anna Caballero (D-Salinas) and Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger) voted yes. Republican Andreas Borgeas (R-Fresno) voted no.

The bill next heads to the Assembly. Even if it passes and is signed by the governor, there undoubtedly will be a court challenge.

Navarrette in town

An open debate about anything and everything is scheduled between Washington Post columnist Ruben Navarette Jr. and evangelical leader Samuel Rodriguez next week.

portrait of columnist ruben navarette jr.

Columnist Ruben Navarette Jr.

The two will share the stage as a fundraising breakfast for the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference. Larry Powell moderates.

Navarrette, a Sanger native, is known on the national stage for his columns and is a pundit on cable news programs. Rodriguez is president of the NHCLC, described as the world’s largest Hispanic Christian organization.

The event takes place 9 a.m., Tuesday, May 14, at Peoples Church (7172 N. Cedar Ave. in Fresno).

Veto Showdown

Mayor Lee Brand issued a veto over the council’s reallocation of City Hall office space.

Ashley Swearengin successfully exercised the last mayoral veto in 2014 over budget items.

Now, the council will vote on a veto override at next Thursday’s (May 16) council meeting.

On April 25, the council voted 5-1 to give space used by the city manager’s staff to council staff.

Overriding the veto requires five votes. So, someone needs to switch votes for that to happen.

Ashley Swearengin successfully exercised the last mayoral veto in 2014 over budget items.

A Baseball Shirt with a Message

The Grizzlies have a special t-shirt deal this week. The shirt reads “Child of Immigrants.”

The team is also taking a cue from its parent club, the Washington Nationals, and holding a between-innings race with oversized-head mascots. While the Nats race ex-presidents, famous Fresnans will run at the Chuk.

The participants: famous author William Saroyan, famous basketball players Brook and Robin Lopez (the twin brothers race as one), and local broadcaster turned MLB Network host Heidi Watney.

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David Taub,
Senior Reporter
Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email

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