Swearengin Endorsements

September 2, 2008 2:46:35 PM PDT
Fresno Mayoral Candidate Ashley Swearengin has won endorsements from a leading Hispanic Democrat, and a conservative Republican.State Assembly Member Juan Arambula, a Democrat from Fresno was joined by Republican Assembly leader Mike Villines of Clovis in endorsing Ashley Swearengin's campaign.

Both men were slated to appear at a fundraiser for Swearengin Friday night, but had to make their endorsements by telephone, since they were unable to leave Sacramento because of the ongoing negotiations over the California state budget.

The fundraiser for Swearengin drew supporters and community leaders. Current Fresno Mayor Alan Autry appeared, but said he was not prepared to endorse Swearengin, or her opponent city council member Henry T. Perea.

Swearengin welcomed the endorsement of both state lawmakers. She said," I think both Mike's and Juan's support help me reach the whole community.

Arambula's decision to endorse Swearengin, over Perea a fellow Democrat and Hispanic has raised some eyebrows, but reached by phone in Sacramento Arambula says he believes he's supporting the best candidate. Arambula said, "What Hispanics want is the same things other people want, good jobs, good communites; good schools safe neighborhoods and I believe that Ashley will provide leadership that will benefit the Latino community as well as everybody else in the community."

Former Fresno School Board Member Luisa Medina says Arambula should not be expected to decide a candidates qualifications based on their ethnicity. "Juan is about bringing together diverse groups of people for the common good." She said.

While the primary election results showed Perea drawing far more votes than Swearengin in Hispanic neighborhoods Political Science Professor Kurt Cline of Fresno State says it doesn't mean Perea has a lock on Hispanic votes.

Cline says, "You still tend to see strong block voting, but given the amount of Hispanics in this area it's not surprising to me you have a wide variation."

Villines says the fact Swearengin, who's considered a political conservative won Arambula's support,"Shows she has very broad cross-over appeal for Republicans and Democrats

Kline says Swearengin's ability to bring well known political opposites together is a significant achievement. He says, "If you couple the Villines endorsement with the Arambula endorsement it really strengthens her appeal in terms of being a non-partisan candidate for Mayor."

Henry T. Perea was not available for comment, but he's also not lacking in diverse endorsements. He has the support of labor unions and the Chamber of Commerce.

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