Dyer Has Two Low-Profile Opponents. Fresno Council Races Set. - GV Wire - Explore. Explain. Expose
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Dyer Has Two Low-Profile Opponents. Fresno Council Races Set.



Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer (left) is running for re-election against two low-profile opponents, Jim Barr, and Samantha Dussell. (GV Wire Composite/David Rodriguez)
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Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer has drawn two little-known opponents for his 2024 re-election.

Dyer, a 64-year-old Republican, is running for his second term. Jim Barr, an educator, and Samantha Dussell have qualified to run against him.

“Although I am not familiar with either opponent or their backgrounds, I am looking forward to learning more about them. I do welcome the opportunity to share throughout the campaign how my administration is working with the council and the community to keep our city safe, clean, and prosperous,” Dyer said.

Barr, 64 and a Democrat, is an educator at J.E. Young Academic Center.

He is running “to give the voters a choice. I have the time. I have the opportunity. I have the spirit. I have the passion for it.”

He ran before without success for Fresno Unified school board in 2006 and 2022.

This is the first time Dussell, 55, and registered as no party preference, has run for public office. She tells GV Wire that she has completed her studies to become a certified nursing assistant and is waiting to take the state exam. One of her goals in running for mayor is to bring attention to elder abuse.

“I actually asked for help from my representatives just to get my mom out of this situation. And so throughout me trying to get help, I met a lot of other people in a similar situation as my mother and … we shared the same experiences where the authorities weren’t listening. That’s what had led me to run for mayor,” Dussell said.

The local races in Fresno County have been set. An official list of other candidates — president, U.S. Senate, House of Representatives, Congress, state Senate, and Assembly — will be released in a few weeks.

The primary is March 5. If a candidate in the mayoral, Fresno City Council, or Fresno County Supervisor races wins a majority, the election will be over. If no candidate attains a majority, the top two advance to the November general election.

Fresno City Council Races

Three Fresno City Council races are on the ballot. Tyler Maxwell, a 32-year-old Democrat, did not draw a challenger for District 4 (east central Fresno). He is running for a second term.

Mike Karbassi, 40, of District 2 (northwest Fresno), is running for his second full-term and third overall. Community activist Matthew Gillian, 41, qualified as the only opponent. Both candidates are Democrats.

Maxwell and the winner of the District 2 race are virtually certain to win outright without facing a runoff for the November election.

Fresno City Councilman Mike Karbassi faces Matthew Gillian in District 2. (GV Wire Composite/David Rodriguez)

Four candidates have qualified to run for District 6 (northeast Fresno). Even though incumbent Garry Bredefeld is termed out, there is no deadline extension because Bredefeld could not run anyway, Fresno County Clerk James Kus said. GV Wire initially reported the filing deadline was extended through today.

Qualified to run so far are Molly Fagundes-Johnston, Roger Bonakdar, Raj Sodhi-Layne, and Nick Richardson.

Bonakdar, 42, and no party preference is an attorney; Sodhi-Layne, 58, and Republican, is a banker and former city planning commissioner; Richardson, 32, and Republican, is a veteran and businessman; Fagundes-Johnston, a 41-year old Republican, is a nonprofit advisor.

Candidates for Fresno City Council District 6, from left to right: Roger Bonakdar, Raj Sodhi-Layne, Nick Richardson, and Molly Fugundes-Johnston. (GV Wire Composite/David Rodriguez)

Three County Elections Set

Fresno County Supervisor for District 2 (north Fresno and parts of Clovis) Steve Brandau, 60, of Fresno, faces four qualified challengers. He is running for his second full-term and third overall.

Fresno City Councilman Garry Bredefeld 64; Fresno County Assessor-Recorder Paul Dictos, 80, of Fresno; county social worker Dion Bourdase, 38, of Clovis; and Bryce Herrera, 27, of Fresno — who operates his own catering business — are running.

Brandau and Bredefeld are Republicans; Dictos and Herrera are Democrats; Bourdase is no party preference.

Candidates for Fresno County Supervisor, District 2, from left to right: Steve Brandau, Garry Bredefeld, Paul Dictos, Bryce Herrera (not pictured: Dion Bourdase). (GV Wire Composite/David Rodriguez)

District 3 (south Fresno and surrounding areas) Supervisor Sal Quintero, 75, is running for his third term. He faces two Fresno city councilmembers — Miguel Arias, 45,  and Luis Chavez, 44, — and educator EJ Hinojosa, 34.

All candidates are Democrats from Fresno.

Candidates for Fresno County Supervisor District 3 from left to right: Sal Quintero, Miguel Arias, Luis Chavez, EJ Hinojosa. (GV Wire Composite/David Rodriguez)

In District 5 (parts of Clovis, Fresno, and mountain communities), incumbent Nathan Magsig faces a challenge from Jennifer Cruz.

Magsig, soon to be 47, is running for his third term.

“I love the mountains. I’ve dealt with mountain issues from day one since I had the pleasure of being sworn in in 2017. I enjoy the lakes. I enjoy some of the challenges that the metropolitan areas face as well,” Magsig said.

He said he will continue to focus on economic and public safety issues.

Cruz, a 46-year-old Democrat, is an LGBT-rights activist. She has frequently spoken at public meetings regarding LGBT issues, including the recent supervisors’ vote on restricting books in the children’s section of the library.

“That issue was the thing that day where my public comment was really clear that you’re in a supervisory position by U.S. taxpayers. People want you to listen, and if you don’t, then we’ll find someone to run against you,” Cruz said.

Cruz also expressed frustration about residents not being able to fully comment at meetings.

“I’ve been finding innovative solutions to solve problems and yes, it’s been for one particular community, but I know that I can use those skills in that space, to do what the people want. And also I want to listen to them,” Cruz said.

This is her first time running for public office.

Both Magsig and Cruz are from Clovis.

[Update: the original story reported Cruz’s age as 34. She is 46.]

Nathan Magsig (left) faces challenger Jennifer Cruz for Supervisor District 5. (GV Wire Composite/David Rodriguez)

Sales Tax for Measure E Leads the Ballot Measures

Measure E, the effort to raise sales tax for Fresno State, tops the list of countywide measures.

The measure would raise sales tax by one-quarter percent and generate an estimated $1.4 billion over 25 years. The money would be used on academic programs, scholarships, and infrastructure, including sports facilities.

It needs a majority of votes to pass.

A similar measure failed in November 2022.

There are also two amendments to change the Fresno County charter. Both need a majority to pass.

Measure A would keep elections for the district attorney and sheriff in the same years as the governor. A state law changed the election dates for the positions to match presidential years, giving DA Lisa Smittcamp and Sheriff John Zanoni a one-time six-year term.

If approved, Smittcamp and Zanoni would be up for re-election in 2026 instead of 2028.

Power to Name Places for Supervisors

Measure B would give the Board of Supervisors the “duty and power to name or change the name of geographic features or place names within the unincorporated portions of the County of Fresno.”

A controversy over what to call Squaw Valley, an unincorporated community in east Fresno County, motivated the measure. The federal government determined “squaw” was a derogatory word, and recognizes the area as Yokuts Valley. A state law also bans “squaw” as a place name.

Fresno County sued the state over the matter. A Fresno County Superior Court Judge ruled in the state’s favor. A county spokeswoman said the county will appeal.

Voters in the Fowler Unified School District will decide on a $44 million bond, Measure G. The bond would increase property tax by $50 for every $100,000 of assessed value. The money would go to infrastructure and student achievement. It needs 55% to pass.

And, voters in Orange Cove will decide on a police and fire special tax, Measure O. Needing two-thirds to pass, the measure would levy $95 a parcel for a single-family home and $65 to $750 for other real estate. The money would go to public safety, with 80% for police and 20% for fire. The measure would raise an estimated $264,000 a year.

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