A heavyweight clash between well-known conservatives is brewing for north Fresno in 13 months.
Garry Bredefeld announced he is running for Fresno County Supervisor on Saturday. Hours later, Jim Patterson announced he will not run despite previous public intentions to do so.
“If you want a friend in politics, you need to get a dog.” — Supervisor Steve Brandau
And, incumbent Steve Brandau says he isn’t going anywhere.
“I’m in. I’m in 100%,” Brandau said Monday morning. “Whether its from friend or foe.”
All three are conservative Republicans, representing similar constituencies, and with similar political viewpoints.
It is the latest dose of political drama for the 2nd Supervisorial District that represents north Fresno and parts of Clovis.
The primary is March 5, 2024. If no candidate reaches a majority, the top two will advance to the November 2024 general election.
Bredefeld: ‘I’m In’
After weeks-long speculation, 63-year-old Bredefeld — who returned to the Fresno City Council in 2017 and won a third term in 2022 (he also served 1997-2001) — posted his 2024 intentions on social media.
“I believe that I still have much to offer our community and want to continue the fight on behalf of my constituents. After much discussion and prayer with my family, I have decided to seek the FRESNO COUNTY SUPERVISOR, DISTRICT 2 seat. I know this will be a very challenging race; they always are. But I am ready for the challenge because the stakes are high,” Bredefeld wrote.
Bredefeld vs. Brandau
The news came as a surprise to Brandau, 59. Bredefeld has publicly and privately said he would not challenge Brandau.
“It’s very bizarre, but it is what it is. And, you know, I think it was (former President Harry) Truman that said if you want a friend in politics, you need to get a dog,” Brandau said.
Bredefeld has $228,388 left over from his city council campaign account. He can transfer that for a supervisor run. Brandau reported $173,619 cash on hand.
With new campaign finance rules in place since Jan. 1, both men could be restricted on voting on certain items if either raises $250 from a single source, and that donor has business in front of the respective legislative body.
Why the change of heart from Bredefeld?
“These seats are not owned by the person sitting in them … you have to earn it. I have a passion to serve. I believe there are skills that I have, that are clearly needed at the county level. I think I’ve clearly demonstrated that I’m a fighter that leads. And the county needs that leadership. And I’m going to, I intend to, provide that,” Bredefeld said.
“All of the lockdowns of schools were destructive, and it was clear that I stood up against that and other politicians did not.” — Fresno City Councilman Garry Bredefeld
Brandau gave reasons why he should be re-elected.
“I’ve got a lot of projects that are in the pipeline. They’re multi-year projects I’m spending a lot of time on. They have to get done. I am committed to getting those projects done and delivering for the citizens of District 2,” Brandau said.
Bredefeld said he’s committed to conservative voters, “to be their voice in a time where radicals and leftists are promoting destructive policies to our community.”
He highlighted how he pushed back against pandemic policies.
“(Interim Fresno County Health Officer) Dr. (Rais) Vohra was one of those who was taking his talking points from Governor Newsom. All of the lockdowns of schools were destructive, and it was clear that I stood up against that and other politicians did not,” Bredefeld said.
Patterson: ‘I’m Out’
Bredefeld made his announcement around 11:30 a.m. Saturday. Approximately six hours later, Patterson made his decision.
“I believe my skills, talents, and relationships can do the most good for the most people here in the private sector. Therefore, I have decided I will not be running for public office in 2024,” Patterson wrote in an email to supporters.
Patterson, 74, will be termed out from the Assembly after 2024, a position he’s held since 2012. He announced before the 2022 election his intention of running for supervisor.
He also served as Fresno’s mayor from 1993-2001 and ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 2002 and 2010.
What About Council? Assembly?
With Bredefeld termed out for city council and Patterson termed out, that could mean a free-for-all election for their respective replacements.
Two have already announced for city council — newcomers Nickolas Richardson and Justin St. George, both military veterans.
The Assembly race could be more wide open. Only Frank Bigelow has filed paperwork with the state to run in 2024. Bigelow, R-O’Neals, was merged into the same Assembly district as Patterson after redistricting. He bowed out of the 2022 election with one term of eligibility remaining.
“I have plans at this time to run,” Bigelow emailed GV Wire.
Bigelow has $506,248 parked away for his 2024 run. He also has another $408,266 in a committee to run for lieutenant governor in 2026.
Other names political watchers have guessed for the Assembly seat include Clovis City Councilman Vong Mouanoutoua, Fresno County Supervisor Nathan Magsig, and newly elected Madera County Supervisor Jordan Wamhoff — also a Fresno police officer and union leader.
“I’m not sure. I hadn’t really considered it,” Wamhoff replied in a text message to GV Wire’s inquiry. “Quite a few people have been calling and encouraging me to do so, but I’m just getting settled as a county supervisor.”