Karbassi Running for Assembly vs. Fellow Fresno Councilmember
Mike Karbassi, a Democrat representing northwest Fresno on the city council, is running for state Assembly. The move will pit him against fellow Fresno city councilmember and Democrat Esmeralda Soria.
“It is true, I am aggressively exploring a run for Assembly District 27. Looking at the numbers, this is clearly a Blue Dog district in need of a candidate. I have a proven moderate record to best represent the district’s interests in Sacramento,” Karbassi, 38, tells GV Wire.
Karbassi and Soria are considering running in AD 27, the newly redrawn district that covers parts of Fresno, Madera and Merced counties. Assemblyman Adam Gray, D-Merced, lives in the district but announced he is running for Congress.
The official filing period runs Feb. 14 through March 11.
For Karbassi and Soria, this is a “free” run. Soria is termed out, completing her eighth year on the city council. Karbassi is in the middle of his first full term — winning a special election in 2019 and a full-term seat a year later.
While both are Democrats, Soria and Karbassi have found themselves on opposite sides of votes several times. Soria is part of the city council’s liberal block; Karbassi calls himself a conservative “Blue Dog.”
Soria Builds List of Endorsements
For weeks, Soria, 39, flirted with other elected offices including the state Senate district south of Fresno, sources told GV Wire. She revealed her intentions on Jan. 21 to run in AD 27.
Two years ago, Soria ran for Congress against incumbent Democrat Jim Costa. The district shared many of the constituents as the current AD 27. Soria failed to advance beyond the primary.
Since then, she has announced several endorsements from Democratic constituencies, including elected leaders at all levels and labor groups. She boasts the support of the four other Democrats on the Fresno City Council — Miguel Arias, Luis Chavez, Nelson Esparza, and Tyler Maxwell.
Karbassi has not rolled out any endorsements. Adam Gray has not indicated who he might support or if he will recruit his own candidate.
By running for AD 27, Soria must change her voting registration residence to the area where her Assembly and city council districts intersect. A source with direct knowledge tells GV Wire she has made that move. By city law, Soria must update her residence with the city clerk’s office within 60 days. As of last week, she has not done so.
Karbassi said he recently updated his voting registration address to a home he owns within the district. The original version of this story said he had yet to make the change.
Candidates must be registered to vote within the Assembly district they run in. Councilmembers must remain within their voting district as well.
Only one other person, Patricia Ramos-Anderson, has pulled signatures in-lieu papers thus far in Merced County. But she told GV Wire she would withdraw after Soria announced.
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AD 27 Background
Half of the district voters live in Merced County. The city of Merced is the city with the most voters with 17%. The city of Fresno, which includes both Soria’s District 1 and Karbassi’s District 2, contains 12% of all AD 27 voters.
The new AD 27 is 51.4% Latino citizen voting age population (CVAP) — the metric used by the redistricting commission to redraw the maps — 33.9% white CVAP, 7.4% Asian CVAP, and 5.1% Black CVAP.
|Population||Percentage of district|
|Remainder of county||75,936||14.8%|
|Remainder of county||23,277||4.5%|
|San Joaquin city||3,710||0.7%|
|Remainder of county||25,378||5.0%|