Fresno City Councilwoman Esmeralda Soria has established a big financial lead in the open Assembly District 27 seat. In figures reported to the state last week, Soria, a Democrat, raised more than the three other contestants in the race combined. She reports contributions of $378,925.
Of the eight seats in the state Legislature on the June primary ballot, only one is wide open — Assembly District 27 representing parts of Fresno, Madera, and Merced counties.
“The contributions made across the Central Valley have shown just how hungry Assembly District 27 is for change. With this level of support, it is clear that I am in a position to advance in the June Primary and win outright in November,” Soria said in a news release.
The seven other local state Senate and Assembly seats follow a reality in politics — incumbents dominate and fundraising never stops.
Even if a candidate achieves more than 50% of the vote June 7, the top two in each race will advance to the November general election, regardless of political party.
An Open AD 27 Seat
Soria has a long list of support — from other Democratic elected leaders to endorsements and financial support from labor groups.
She also transferred funds from her city council account which include some unusual lines on her ledger. Councilman Garry Bredefeld contributed $500 to Soria in 2018. That money is now transferred over. Bredefeld and Soria are often at political odds on the city council dais. Both have resorted to name-calling several times.
Another 2018 transfer of note — $500 from Rep. Jim Costa, D-Fresno. Soria ran against Costa for Congress in 2020 but failed to advance beyond the primary.
Former Merced County Sheriff Mark Pazin is second of the four candidates in the District 27 race, raising $110,436. Fresno City Councilman Mike Karbassi has raised $71,005.
Granville Homes, Inc. contributed $4,900 to Karbassi. Darius Assemi is the president/CEO of Granville and the publisher of GV Wire.
The maximum an individual or company can contribute is $4,900 per election cycle; political action and small contributor committees can give more.
Three in Six-Figures for SD 16
The most fastidious challenge to an incumbent in Senate District 16, where three candidates have raised six figures — incumbent Melissa Hurtado, D-Bakersfield, Democrat Nicole Parra of Bakersfield, and Republican David Shepard of Porterville.
Hurtado moved to Bakersfield and switched districts to avoid an incumbent vs. incumbent showdown against Anna Caballero, D-Merced, in SD 14. The move seemed to financially pay off for both candidates.
Assemblyman Jim Patterson, R-Fresno, is in his last election before terming out, and he does not have a challenger. At a war chest of nearly a half-million dollars, he could be a very popular man among fellow Republican office-seekers in the future.