Six Will Battle for Brandau’s Vacated Seat. Hunsaker Doesn’t File. - GV Wire - Explore. Explain. Expose
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Six Will Battle for Brandau’s Vacated Seat. Hunsaker Doesn’t File.



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Six candidates are officially running in the Aug. 13 special election for the vacant northwest Fresno City Council seat.

The deadline passed Friday, and one notable name is not on the list.

Debbie Hunsaker, the president of construction support company Alert-O-Lite, did not return the paperwork to run.  Previously, she expressed her intent to run for the seat.

Hunsaker did not reply to GV Wire’s inquiry about her decision prior to publication of this story.

The Candidates

Those in the race are:

— Businessman Mike Karbassi. He has one of the more visible campaigns thus far. He also serves on various public boards such as the Fresno Unified bond oversight committee.

— Attorney Jared Gordon, who is a partner at McCormick Barstow. Gordon has been active in the local tea party in the past.

— Financial planner Phil Arballo. While actively campaigning for the March 2020 regular election for the District 2 seat, Arballo pulled out of the special election before rejoining the race last week. He has appeared at a number of Democratic events the last few months, including a visit by state party chair candidate Kimberly Ellis.

— Fresno Planning Commissioner Lawrence Garcia. A military veteran, Garcia also owns the AmeriGuard Security firm.

— Oscar Sandoval. A former children’s therapist, Sandoval is a Democratic Party activist. He most recently worked on TJ Cox’s successful congressional campaign.

— Attorney George Herman, who joined the race late.

If no candidate receives a majority of the August vote, a runoff between the top two takes place Nov. 5.

Next Election Around the Corner

Either way, the campaign won’t stop. The regularly scheduled election for the District 2 seat is March 3, 2020. Arballo, Garcia, Gordon, and Karbassi already filed to run next year.

Fundraising is underway. Garcia has contributed $50,000 to his campaign and has a campaign event this week.

Gordon has donated $8,000 to his campaign.

The first fundraising report from candidates is due July 5.

Replacing Brandau

The six are vying to replace Steve Brandau, who left office in April after winning a special election for a vacant seat on the Fresno County Board of Supervisors.

To date, Brandau has not endorsed any of the candidates.

Correction: An earlier version of this story reported incorrectly that Fresno City Council candidate Mike Karbassi is a member of the Central Valley Progressive PAC.

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