If politics were a horse race — as it is often compared to — Annalisa Perea has lapped the field and nearing the finish line.

Perea pulled in six figures worth of contributions last year for her 2022 run for Fresno City Council in District 1. That is 73 times as much as the other announced candidate in the race, Cary Catalano.

Financial reports were released this week. Perea raised $122,518 for 2020. Catalano, reported $1,672 in funds, most that from the city’s bus drivers union ($1,500).

The election is not until June 7, 2022. Perea and Catalano are vying to succeed Councilwoman Esmeralda Soria, who will term out of office.

“The diverse and overwhelming support I’ve received this early in the campaign is extremely humbling, however, I take nothing for granted,” Perea said. “I’ll continue to work hard each and everyday from now until the primary election to earn the trust, respect, and vote of each person in District 1.”

Catalano was undeterred.

“We look forward to an energetic campaign about Fresno’s future, which includes connecting with thousands of residents in District 1 over the next 16 months,” he said.

New Rules Allow Early Fundraising

Once a contributor has given the maximum amount, they can’t give again until after the election. In 2018, new rules went into effect allowing city candidates to fundraise at any time. Previously, fundraising could only start approximately four months prior to the election.

Perea and Catalano are the only candidates who have registered for fundraising with the city clerk, although candidacies aren’t official until early next year.

Using another racing analogy, Perea could be in danger of peaking too early.

Familiar Names Helping Perea

Several contributors gave the maximum donation of $4,700 (per election) including and her father, Henry R. Perea; and state Sen. Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger) from her campaign account.

Perea’s brother, Henry T. Perea, was more thrifty with just a $1,500 contribution. Both father and son served as city councilmen for District 7.

Other notable supporters include the San Joaquin Valley Latino Leaders PAC ($4,000); Assemblyman Jesse Gabriel (D-Encino) with $500; and Tower District Marketing Committee executive director Tyler Mackey ($200).

Councilmembers Tyler Maxwell ($4,200), Esmeralda Soria ($1,500), Mike Karbassi ($500), Miguel Arias ($200) and Nelson Esparza ($100) also gave.

Current councilmembers also filed fundraising documents for the second half of 2020. Only two posted five-digit totals: Esparza ($22,455) and Maxwell ($15,780).

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