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Modesto Farmer Enters Race That Includes Adam Gray, Elizabeth Heng



John Duarte, a Modesto farmer who took on the federal government over an environmental issue, is running for Congress. (Duarte Campaign)
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John Duarte, a Modesto farmer who took on the federal government, is running for Congress.

Photo of GV Wire's David Taub

David Taub

Politics 101

“Hard-working people are choosing between tanks of gas and what they’re eating for dinner. Farmers are wondering if they have enough water every single year. Parents are sending their kids to schools, knowing that their children should have better alternatives. It’s time to get back to basics,” Duarte said in a news release.

Duarte fought back against the federal government when the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers accused him of damaging wetlands on his property. He eventually settled, paying fines and admitting no liability. His case raised the issues of property rights and environmental law.

The 13th Congressional District is an open seat with no incumbent. Major names in the race include Assemblyman Adam Gray, D-Merced; Phil Arballo, D-Fresno; businessman David Giglio, R-Madera County; and Elizabeth Heng, R-Fresno, who is also running in the CD 22 special election.

Matt Stoll, R-Visalia, changed his filing from CD 13 to CD 21. His campaign team says they see a better path by running against incumbent Rep. Jim Costa, D-Fresno.

Also in Politics 101: 

  • Hurtado, D-Bakersfield, will visit White House.
  • Arias staffer leaves for Newsom post.

Hurtado, Now from Bakersfield, Headed for White House Visit

State Sen. Melissa Hurtado re-registered in Senate District 16 and is now officially in Bakersfield. She is the incumbent in a field that includes fellow Democrats Nicole Parra, former Assemblywoman; Delano Mayor Bryan Osorio; and Republican farmer David Shepard of Porterville.

Imelda Ceja, Bakersfield labor leader and a Democrat,  dropped out of the race on Friday.

Sources tell Politics 101 that Hurtado will visit the White House next week as part of a Women’s History Month event. Hurtado served on the National Latino Leadership Committee during the 2020 Joe Biden presidential campaign.

Melissa Hurtado helped Joe Biden during the 2020 presidential campaign. (GV Wire File)

Arias Staffer Leaves for Governor

Dolores Barajas is leaving Fresno City Hall for Sacramento, her boss, city councilman Miguel Arias announced Thursday.

Barajas, who had been Arias’ chief of staff, is moving on to the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research. She will manage a grant program.

Gabriela Olea, who started in Arias’ office as a Fresno State intern, will take over as interim chief of staff.

[Correction, 3/14/2022: This item has been updated with Barajas’ correct office. Arias announced incorrect information from the dais at last week’s council meeting.]

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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