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Who Will Replace Nunes? GOP Holds Congressional Forum Tuesday



GOP congressional candidates will meet in a forum on Tuesday. (GV Wire Composite/Paul Marshall)
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Three Republican candidates running in the special congressional election to replace Devin Nunes will meet in a forum on Tuesday.

Photo of GV Wire's David Taub

David Taub

Politics 101

Former Assembly Minority Leader Connie Conway, businesswoman Elizabeth Heng, and businessman Michael Maher are scheduled to meet Tuesday, Feb. 1, at the Redeemer Lutheran Church (1084 W. Bullard Ave. in Fresno) at 6 p.m.

[Update 1/31/2022: Fresno County Supervisor Nathan Magsig dropped out of the special election, and will run for CD 5, he announced Monday morning. He will not appear at the forum.]

State Sen. Shannon Grove, R-Bakersfield, will moderate.

The Fresno County Republican Party is hosting the event. An RSVP is required to attend at this link.

Other candidates who have announced or filed to run include John Estrada, R-Fresno, businessman Matt Stoll, R-Visalia; Noah Junio, American Independent Party-Tipton; Marine veteran Eric Garcia, D-Clovis, and state water employee Lourin Hubbard, D-Fresno.

Political activist Phil Arballo, D-Fresno, says he will not run in the special election and is focusing on the Congressional District 13 race instead. CD 13 includes western Fresno County, Merced County, and parts of Madera County.


Also in Politics 101

  • Fresno City Council candidate in hot water over police logo.
  • Mailer mystery about Soria and cannabis.

Sign of Trouble for City Council Candidate

Jeremy Preis, who is running for the Fresno City Council, placed the logo of the Fresno Police Department on a campaign sign. That is a political no-no.

He received a letter from the city attorney’s office, reminding him that such placement could violate campaign law.

“The signs are misleading and the City requests that the badge/star patch be immediately removed,” a letter from assistant city attorney Travis Stokes said.

The letter cites two laws. Election Code 18304 states a candidate using the seal of a local government agency “with intent to deceive the voters, is guilty of a misdemeanor.”

“Deceive” is defined as “creates a misleading, erroneous, or false impression that the document is authorized by a public official.”

Penal Code 538d(a) deals with fraudulently impersonating a peace officer.

Preis retired from the police force in 2018 and is now an insurance agent. He is running in District 1 to replace termed-out Esmeralda Soria.

It is a regular practice for candidates to use “look-a-like” police uniforms and logos in campaign materials.

Preis tells Politics 101 he is considering his next move.

Above: Jeremy Preis’ campaign sign contained the Fresno Police logo. Below: The letter sent by the Fresno City Attorney’s Office in response.

Mailer Targets Soria on Marijuana Retailer Vote

Politics 101 is aware of a flyer sent to some Fresno residents, encouraging them to call Councilwoman Esmeralda Soria to “stop the felony fraud” when awarding licenses to marijuana retailers.

“Call Councilmember Soria and let her know you support her to stop the felony fraud group that were hand picked by city bureaucrats to operate a marijuana store in our neighborhood,” the flyer said.

On the flip side, it reads “Shame on you! City Hall bureaucrats gave a license to sell marijuana to someone charged with committing felony fraud. That’s right… felony fraud!”

After City Manager Tommy Esqueda selected the initial 21 licensees, Soria appealed one awarded to The Artist Tree, which is in the Tower District. When the city council took no action on the appeal, The Artist Tree lost that license. However, it retains another license in north Fresno.

City Manager Thomas Esqueda then selected Authentic 559, but Soria appealed that license as well. The city council will hear the appeal on Feb. 16.

In her appeal letter, dated Dec. 29, 2021, Soria wanted “to allow public participation in the awarding process.”

Authentic 559 is owned by cannabis group Shryne Group Inc. Its former CEO, Brian Mitchell, was arrested last year in Alameda County for insurance and workers’ compensation fraud. His case is going through the legal process.

Mitchell is listed as a part-owner of Authentic 559.

Soria’s office had no comment about the mailer.

The mailer doesn’t say who produced or paid for it. But there’s an address listed, and it is a UPS Store post office box in north Fresno. At least they used a nice picture of Soria.

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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