Salas Challenges Valadao in Crowded Race. Who’s Raised the Most? - GV Wire - Explore. Explain. Expose
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Salas Challenges Valadao in Crowded Race. Who’s Raised the Most?



Assemblyman Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield) is running for the congressional seat held by Hanford Republican David Valadao. (Salas campaign)
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State Assemblyman Rudy Salas is joining the congressional race to unseat Rep. David Valadao, R-Hanford.

Photo of GV Wire's David Taub

David Taub

Politics 101

Salas, D-Bakersfield, confirmed Monday his long-rumored candidacy. He is the eighth candidate in the race, but perhaps has the most name recognition of the challengers.

“I’ve brought home hundreds of millions of dollars in investment to increase workforce development, build clean water infrastructure, improve public safety, expand educational opportunities and fight Valley Fever. With the community’s support, I know that we can make sure that Washington once again delivers for the Central Valley on the issues that most affect us,” Salas said, as transcribed in a news release.

Political watchers have called Valadao’s 21st district seat one of the most vulnerable in the nation. The district, which covers all of Kings County and parts of Fresno, Tulare, and Kern counties, supports a Democratic president, but a (moderately) Republican congressman.

Also in Politics 101: 

  • Valadao faces challenge from the right
  • A look at the fundraising in the race.
  • More fundraising totals for Valley congressional seats.
  • Fresno airport director retiring.
  • Proposed project requires parking lot buyback.

Valadao Faces Challengers from Right, Too

In recently released fundraising figures, Republican challengers have outraised Democratic hopefuls, although that could change with Salas’ entry.

Chris Mathys, the former Fresno councilman, is challenging Valadao from the right. Many Republican groups are upset over Valadao voting to impeach former President Donald Trump.

Mathys reported $323,509 raised thus far. Most of it, $300,000, is in the form of a self-loan.

Salas’ announcement comes after the most recent congressional fundraising reporting deadline. But, he does have $906,762 cash on hand in his Assembly account.

What About the Other Dems?

What will Salas’ entry mean for the other mainline Democratic candidates? Brian Osorio, the young mayor of Delano, continues to outraise former Assemblywoman-turned-lobbyist Nicole Parra.

Parra seems unnerved by Salas’ entry. Last week, she tweeted “Rudy, welcome to the race! Angel, Bryan, Rudy, David, Chris, Adam … a crowded field of men once again running for Congress. I was the first person to step up to challenge David and I will be the first woman elected to Congress ever from the So. San Joaquin Valley!”

Hours ahead of Salas’ formal announcement, Parra issued a tweet storm of her supporters, including state Sen. Melissa Hurtado, D-Sanger, and Fresno City Councilman Miguel Arias.

But, will that help her fundraising? She is in fourth-place, lagging behind Valadao, Mathys, and fellow Democrat Osorio. She picked up $37,784 for the third quarter, $23,000 behind Osorio.

Race Name Fundraising Spent Cash on hand
Total 3rd Quarter
21 David Valadao (R)* $1,122,712 $317,963 $251,577 $1,026,964
21 Chris Mathys (R) $323,509 $104,378 $25,522 $25,522
21 Brian Osorio (D) $101,216 $60,582 $41,814 $59,402
21 Nicole Parra (D) $97,767 $37,784 $30,934 $79,416
21 Angel Lara (D) $56,414 n/a $27,016 $29,397
21 Adam Medeiros (R) $21,400 n/a $387 $21,012
21 Martha Elena Flores-Gibson (R) $116 n/a $0 $116
21 Rudy Salas (D)

Totals through Sept. 30; * incumbent

Congressional Fundraising Totals

Third-quarter fundraising totals are in for congressional candidates.

In the other two Fresno-area congressional races, it is no surprise that the incumbents — Jim Costa, D-Fresno, and Devin Nunes, R-Tulare — have strong leads.

Costa, a notoriously slow starter when it comes to fundraising, outraised Madera businessman David Giglio. Nearly half of Giglio’s $545,519 haul is in the form of contributions or loans from himself.

Nunes continues to lap the field in 22nd District race fundraising.

Race Name Fundraising Spent Cash on hand
Total 3rd Quarter
16 Jim Costa (D)* $811,305 $420,352 $286,049 $935,426
16 David Giglio (R) $545,519 $231,306 $143,192 $402,327
16 Nathan Brown (R) $124,495 n/a $15,690 $108,804
22 Devin Nunes (R)* $3,320,027 $794,660 $2,422,323 $11,805,658
22 Phil Arballo (D) $826,879 $315,655 $482,007 $374,138
22 Eric Garcia (D) $189,135 n/a $177,586 $11,549
22 Lourin Hubbard (D) $42,437 n/a $13,075 $29,361

Totals through Sept. 30; * incumbent

Fresno Airport Director Retiring

Fresno airport director Kevin Meikle

After nearly three decades of service, Kevin Meikle is retiring as Fresno’s airports director. He has served 32 years with the city, 19 in the airport department, and the last eight as director.

“An architect and instrument-rated pilot, Meikle’s development and aviation background complemented numerous strategic initiatives and programs that have strategically positioned the airport for future growth,” airport spokeswoman Vikkie Calderon said.

His last project is probably his biggest — a $115 million terminal and parking lot expansion.

Calderon says the city will conduct a national search to find Meikle’s replacement.

Will City Buy Back Parking Lot for New Project?

It is still in the early stages, but the city is thinking of turning a vacant warehouse it owns on H Street between Mono and Inyo streets into a farmer’s market/restaurant/retail project.

The Fresno City Council voted last week to hire TAM+CZ Architects of Fresno to evaluate its potential. The contract costs $80,000.

While the city owns the warehouse — it has seen more action from the homeless in recent years than any economic activity — preliminary drawings show the project using space in the adjacent parking lot.

The city sold that parking lot to the Fresno Grizzlies years ago. Councilman Miguel Arias says the city is negotiating with the team to buy it back.

Renderings of Fresno warehouse project (Image: City of Fresno/Miguel Arias Facebook)

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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