Six Will Battle for Brandau’s Vacated Seat. Hunsaker Doesn’t File.
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.
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.
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.