Who will be Mayor?

Who political experts believe could be top contenders to head the City of Fresno if Swearengin gets elected as State Controller.
March 6, 2014 12:00:00 AM PST
Analysts say Mayor Swearengin could face an uphill battle campaigning for State Controller because it won't be easy for her to fund raise outside central California. But if she does win that statewide race, there are several strong contenders they believe could be strong candidates to take over her job at city hall.

Mayor Ashley Swearengin's announcement to run for State Controller could dramatically change Fresno's political landscape. If she's wins and is sworn into office next year, some well known public figures may soon start eyeing her current job.

"The plan all along from the time I ran for reelection a couple years go was to run for mayor in 2016. So if it's 2015, I am prepared to run in 2015," said Lee Brand, Fresno City Councilmember.

Brand agrees with most of the mayor's agenda. But if he became mayor, he says he'll focus more on job creation. "Let's get our unemployment rate below 10 percent."

ABC30 Political Analyst Tony Capozzi says Brand is one of five heavyweights who could be a strong mayoral candidate. The others he believes are County Supervisors, Henry Perea and Andreas Borgeas. Assemblyman Jim Patterson and Chief of Police Jerry Dyer all have enough a solid track record and the ability to raise campaign finances.

"The only person who hasn't been in a fund raising mode is Chief Jerry Dyer but with his name recognition being so high, I don't think he would have a difficult time raising the money," said Capozzi.

Action News reached out to Chief Dyer about whether he'd consider a run. He told us "it's premature" to tell, but the option is something he is "not ruling out."

Supervisor Henry Perea was also hesitant to detail his future plans. "That's a good question, but right now I am focused on being a County Supervisor and we have a lot of big issues we are dealing with healthcare to building a jail and everything else that goes with that."

Over the phone supervisor Andreas Borgeas shared that he has not given a possible run for mayor any consideration. But experts say, if Assemblyman Jim Patterson chooses to go after the job, he id a tough contender. "The real interesting person who would be tough to beat and someone to reckon with is Assemblyman Patterson. He had been a mayor for two terms back in the 90's," said Capozzi.

Over the phone Jim Patterson told Action News he is not interested in running for mayor. He is enjoying his role at the legislature working on statewide issues.


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