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Top 10 Things to Look for on Fresno Election Night
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By David Taub, Senior Reporter
Published 2 months ago on
March 4, 2024

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The primary election concludes Tuesday, March 5.

Polls close at 8 p.m. Mail ballots need to be timestamped by Tuesday.

What to look for as the results come in.


The primary election concludes Tuesday at 8 p.m. Here are 10 things to look for as results start to trickle in.

1. Does Measure E Have a Chance?

Boosters of Measure E — the Fresno County quarter-percent sales tax proposal that benefit Fresno State — have spent nearly $2 million from Jan. 1 through Feb. 17. Have you received a Yes on E mailer? Or five?

Yes on Measure E has raised more than $2 million total, but has opposition airing radio and digital ads. Guardians of Growth PAC, funded entirely by conservative Lincoln Club’s Brooke Ashjian, reported raising $35,000 and spending nearly as much.

Voters said no in November 2022 to a similar measure and, with an expected lower turnout on Tuesday — leaving a more older, and tax-hating electorate — Measure E could stand for “eradicated.”

2. Does the Schiff Gambit Pay Off?

U.S. Senate candidate Steve Garvey hasn’t advertised much in Fresno or the rest of the state for that matter. Yet his name is in plenty of TV and radio ads  — Garvey is too conservative and loves Trump (but wink, vote for him anyway) — sponsored by either Schiff or a third-party PAC.

The plan seems to be working. In a Berkeley IGS Poll released last week, Garvey is in the lead of the candidates with 27%. Schiff polled at 25%, with Katie Porter at a distant 19%.

Elevating a conservative opponent is the Democratic tactic in the top-two era of primary elections. Schiff is betting that a contest versus Garvey in November is a slam-dunk ticket to Washington. Fighting another Democrat like Porter would be a tougher battle.

3. Fong and Who Else in Congressional District 20?

Congressional candidate Vince Fong is the favorite to advance to November in Congressional District 20 — covering parts of Kern, Fresno, Tulare, and Kings counties. He has the support of Trump, former Speaker Kevin McCarthy, and the GOP congressional establishment.

Who will advance along with Fong? Will it be another Republican candidate with strong credentials — like Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux? Or, will there be enough Democrat votes to send Bakersfield teacher Marisa Wood to November?

The result on Tuesday also could influence who wins the special election to succeed McCarthy in Congress that takes place on March 19. If a candidate wins a majority of votes in two weeks, the candidate would be sworn into Congress shortly thereafter to fill the remainder of the term through Jan. 3, 2025. McCarthy resigned on Dec. 31.

4. Who Survives Congressional District 22 Battle Royale?

Will Congressional District 22 — covering parts of Kern, Kings, and Tulare counties — see two Republicans advance to the general election? Two Democrats? Or one of each?

Whatever the result, the eyes of the nation will be on this race because it could affect which party controls the House of Representatives after the November runoff.

Incumbent David Valadao, R-Hanford, has the name and money advantage. But, Chris Mathys, R-Firebaugh — formerly pronounced Ma-TEES, now it’s MATH-is — is running to his MAGA-loving right. Although Donald Trump did not endorse Mathys, he appears in his TV ads.

Worried that Mathys might siphon GOP votes, a conservative PAC has run ads mischaracterizing the ultra-conservative Mathys as “a dangerous liberal.”

On the Democratic side, former Assemblymember Rudy Salas, D-Bakersfield, has the money and support of the Democratic Party establishment. But, state Sen. Melissa Hurtado, D-Bakersfield, is a thorn in his side. To the point, that Salas has run negative ads against … Hurtado.

5. Who Emerges in North Fresno/Clovis Supervisor District?

Can Fresno County District 2 Supervisor Steve Brandau hang on Tuesday night? The two-term Republican — representing much of north Fresno and parts of Clovis — is challenged by four candidates, but none more vociferously than Fresno City Councilmember Garry Bredefeld.

Bredefeld has attacked the conservative Brandau on everything, from the county’s handling of COVID-19 to standing up for parents and taxpayers to the Reedley Chinese biolab.

They are conservatives as well as former city council colleagues and one-time friends. However, political ambitions changed the equation.

Seemingly, Brandau and Bredefeld will be 1-2. But, who will be at the top, and will first place garner more than 50% to avoid a runoff?

6. Who Emerges in the South Fresno Supervisor District?

Fresno County Supervisor District 3 has similar storylines as its northern neighbor — an incumbent challenged by a former friend with a similar centrist Democrat ideology.

And, the same questions emerge — will incumbent Sal Quintero continue to represent the district that covers much of south Fresno or will he be taken to a runoff by Fresno City Councilmember Luis Chavez? When Quintero served on the Fresno City Council, Chavez was his chief of staff.

Also running is another councilmember: Miguel Arias. Could he sneak into the top two?

7. Will the Northeast Fresno Council Race Head to November?

With Bredefeld termed out of Fresno City Council District 6 in northeast Fresno, four candidates are running. Will one be able to wrap up the election on Tuesday night?

Attorney Roger Bonakdar has the most money and name recognition — he is all over the news representing former Bitwise Industries employees. But, he skipped at least two public forums, including an event hosted by GV Wire.

Will that leave an opening for the other three in the race: banker Raj Sodhi-Layne, fundraising consultant Molly Fagundes-Johnston, or safety consultant Nick Richardson?

If no candidate secures a majority, the top two head to a November runoff.

8. Duarte-Gray, Costa-Maher: The Ultimate Political Poll

With the top-two system, candidates in two Central Valley congressional districts will advance to November, since only two candidates are running.

Both are 2022 rematches and come November will be the focus of national attention as Democrats and Republicans wrestle for control of the House.

In Congressional District 13, Rep. John Duarte, R-Modesto, faces once again former Assemblyman Adam Gray, D-Merced. Two years ago, Duarte won by less than 500 votes out of nearly 134,000 cast.

In Congressional District 21, Rep. Jim Costa, D-Fresno, takes on businessman Michael Maher, R-Kingsburg. Last time around, Costa garnered 54% of the vote.

Who needs to spend money on polling, when Tuesday will offer a strong meter of voter sentiment.

9. How Good Will the Jerry Dyer Party Be?

Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer raised nearly $400,000 for his re-election bid, in a race that frankly is not competitive. He drew two political novices, and should not worry much as returns come in.

However, Dyer is spending money on TV and radio ads nonetheless. His total is around $325,000. Why? Maybe Dyer has plans for a higher office in 2028?

The latest campaign financial reports show Dyer with $225,000 cash on hand as of Feb. 17. That could be a fun party Tuesday night in northeast Fresno.

10. How Big Does Trump Win By?

Neither Donald Trump nor Nikki Haley campaigned much in California — aside from a few Haley fundraisers. Neither visited Fresno.

Trump has all but assured he will be the Republican nominee. How will he fare in California? The GOP offers a winner-take-all-all system, and Trump is likely to claim all 169 delegates — the most of any state.

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David Taub,
Senior Reporter
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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