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Fresno Election 2024: Dyer Easily Wins Final Term as Fresno Mayor, Measure E Trails, Bredefeld Leads Brandau
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By Bill McEwen, News Director
Published 2 months ago on
March 6, 2024

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Repeating his primary success of 2020, Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer was well on his way to vanquishing two little-known opponents for his second — and final term — in office on Tuesday.

With a little more than 13% of the vote counted 20 minutes after the polls closed, Dyer had 82.68% of the vote compared to 11.84% for James Barr and 5.28% for Samantha Rosalie Dussell.

While known as Super Tuesday across the nation because of its impact on the presidential races, California’s primary generated low voter turnout, including in Fresno.

The hottest local contest involved Measure E, a quarter-cent sales tax that would provide Fresno State with $1.5 billion over 25 years, and termed-out Fresno City Councilmember Garry Bredefeld’s challenge of sitting Fresno County Supervisor Steve Brandau.

Measure E trailed in the early going with nearly 55% opposed to the new sales tax.

Bredefeld was in a strong position to advance to a November run-off with 38.34% of the vote. Brandau was second at 27.38%.

Fresno County Supervisorial candidate Garry Bredefeld talks with a supporter, Tuesday, March 5, 2024, at his campaign party in northeast Fresno. (GV Wire/David Taub)

Meanwhile, in another hotly contested supervisor race, incumbent Sal Quintero jumped to a 42.53% to 25.20% edge over Fresno City Councilmember Luis Chavez in District 3.

In Supervisor District 5, incumbent Nathan Magsig was turning back Jennifer Cruz, 69% to 31%.

In the Fresno City Council District 2 battle, it appears to be smooth sailing to another four-year term for incumbent Mike Karbassi. He led his lone challenger, Matthew S. Gillian, 74.03% to 25.74%.

With Bredefeld terming out of his city council seat, four contestants emerged. Attorney Roger Bonakdar captured nearly 36% of the early vote while Nick Richardson (27%) and Molly Fagundes-Johnston (24%) jockeyed for second and a spot in the November runoff.

Local and Statewide Results

For all of the key local and statewide races, go to this link.

Fresno County Supervisors

Three Fresno County supervisor races were on the ballot.

Steve Brandau is running for his third term to represent District 2 — covering north Fresno and parts of Clovis. He engaged in a bruising campaign with a man he once served with on the Fresno City Council, Garry Bredefeld.

Bredefeld, termed out of the city council, accused Brandau of essentially not being conservative enough. He attacked Brandau for the county’s handling of COVID, the Chinese Reedley biolab, and drug treatment policies.

Brandau defended himself and his conservative policies, including fighting for parents’ rights.

In District 3 — much of south Fresno and surrounding areas — Sal Quintero ran for his third term. He drew three challengers, including two who currently serve on the Fresno City Council — Luis Chavez and Miguel Arias.

Chavez once served as Quintero’s chief of staff, when Quintero was a Fresno city councilmember.

Nathan Magsig ran for re-election in District 5 — parts of Fresno, Clovis and the mountain communities. Jennifer Cruz, a first-time candidate, opposed much of Magsig’s policies, especially his support to restrict sex education books in the children’s section of county libraries.

Fresno City Council

With Bredefeld termed out, four newcomers ran for District 6, representing northeast Fresno. Attorney Roger Bonakdar raised the most money, and by some metrics, was the most visible candidate.

Also running were banker Raj Sodhi-Layne, fundraising consultant Molly Fagundes-Johnston, and safety consultant and veteran Nick Richardson.

Measures

Measure E would raise the Fresno County sales tax by a quarter-percent to benefit projects at Fresno State. Backed by developer Richard F. Spencer, supporters say the university needs local support because it is not receiving it from the state government.

Opposition to the measure brought together several unlikely groups — Democrats, Republicans, and tax-fighting groups. They called Measure E a “double tax” and unfair to the poorest in the community.

Two other measures — A and B — would change the county charter to give more power to the Board of Supervisors. Measure A would keep election dates for the sheriff and district attorney in the mid-year cycle (2026, 2030, etc.). A recent state law changed those dates to the same as a presidential election (2028, 2032, etc.).

Measure B would give the power to rename geographical locations to the supervisors. A state law that takes effect in 2025 bans the name “squaw” and would allow a state committee to make the change. The federal government recognizes the community in the eastern foothills not as Squaw Valley, but as Yokuts Valley.

If passed, there could be a challenge to both items because of conflicts with state law.

Mail-in votes ballots received in the election office by March 12 — as long as they are postmarked by March 5 — will count. County election officials have until April 4 to certify the election. The Secretary of State has until April 12 to certify statewide results.

Through Monday, more than 75,000 ballots had been returned.

Congress

Assemblymember Vince Fong battled to get on the ballot. The Bakersfield Republican filed to run for re-election but changed his mind and filed to run for Congressional District 20 as well. Technically, that contradicted California election law — running for two spots on the same ballot.

Half of the district is in Kern County. Parts of Fresno, Tulare, and Kings counties also make up the district, described as “Godzilla” because of how it appears on a map.

Secretary of State Shirley Weber ruled Fong could only run for the Assembly. Fong sued and won, securing his place. Weber appealed, and that ruling on whether votes for Fong’s congressional bid will count will come after the election.

Regardless of Tuesday’s results, a special election for the same congressional seat takes place on March 19. Several of the same candidates are running in two weeks. The winner of that election will serve in the seat until Jan. 3, 2025. If no candidate wins a majority, the top two advance to a May 21 runoff.

Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux, R-Springville, received support from the law enforcement community. He battled accusations he was lax on immigration policy.

Club One Casino owner Kyle Kirkland, R-Clovis, launched a longshot bid, spending hundreds of thousands of dollars of his own money to advertise.

In Congressional District 22, incumbent David Valadao, R-Hanford, faced the same battle to his right as he did in 2022. Former Fresno City Councilmember Chris Mathys touted his support of Donald Trump and right-leaning ideology. Valadao voted to impeach Trump in January 2021.

Former Assemblymember Rudy Salas, D-Bakersfield, is also running again as he did in 2022. He also found himself with same-party opposition, state Senator Melissa Hurtado, D-Bakersfield. The Democratic establishment backed Salas, with money and endorsements.

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Bill McEwen,
News Director
Bill McEwen is news director and columnist for GV Wire. He joined GV Wire in August 2017 after 37 years at The Fresno Bee. With The Bee, he served as Opinion Editor, City Hall reporter, Metro columnist, sports columnist and sports editor through the years. His work has been frequently honored by the California Newspapers Publishers Association, including authoring first-place editorials in 2015 and 2016. Bill and his wife, Karen, are proud parents of two adult sons, and they have two grandsons. You can contact Bill at 559-492-4031 or at Send an Email

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