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Resnicks Give $250K To Help Newsom, but Pro-Recall Farmers ‘Afraid’ to Donate



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In the Central Valley, a drive on Highway 99 or Interstate 5 turns up signs displaying farmers’ animosity toward Gavin Newsom. But that energy isn’t producing big ag donations to oust the governor.

A check of the Secretary of State’s campaign finance site Cal-Access documents many small donations of $20 to $300 in support of the recall from Valley residents not associated with farming instead.

“We have not received any significant donations that I’m aware of from any one particular farming interest,” says Orrin Heatlie, lead organizer of the team. “They (farmers) don’t have the money to give anymore.”

But at least one California grower — the behemoth Wonderful Company — has ample money to invest in political campaigns. And, the company’s billionaire owners, Stewart and Lynda Resnick, have backed Newsom’s effort to fend off the recall with $250,000 in contributions.

Meanwhile, the foundation of the pro-recall campaign is an Orange County group called Prov 3:9, LLC, which contributed $500,000 in December.

KQED reported that the funding came from John Kruger, an Orange County investor. Thomas Liu, a representative for Prov 3:9, LLC, said the contribution was spurred by the Newsom administration’s rules governing gatherings of religious congregations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Politico reported last week that Newsom’s team has gathered $3.1 million in donations. Meanwhile, recall proponents had $4.2 million in their campaign chest.

School Closures Buried Dairies Says Recall Backer

“Agriculture is definitely against Gavin Newsom.”– Craig Gordon, Chino Dairy Business Owner

Craig Gordon runs a dairy out of Chino, and describes himself as a lifetime Democrat who supports the recall. He says farmers are scared of the potential political retribution from the governor on water issues.

When he (Newsom) shut down the schools, he buried myself and hundreds of dairies across the state,” said Gordon.

Gordon had put up billboards along Highway 99 and Interstate 5 advertising the recall effort. But he was recently forced to take them down after a complaint was filed with the Fair Political Practices Commission for not properly reporting the billboards.

Gordon’s operation milks 3,000 dairy cows daily. The farm also collects pulp and peels from juice-making companies in Tipton and Visalia.

“Agriculture is definitely against Gavin Newsom,” says Gordon. “But also by his tactics, they’re afraid to say anything about the guy.”

Wonderful Company Donation

On the flip side of the recall effort, are the Resnicks. They each donated $125,000 on March 22, according to the Secretary of State’s website.

A recall will take place if election officials verify at least 1,495,709 signatures from registered voters by April 29. Recall backers say they turned in 2,117,730 signatures at the March 17 deadline. If the recall qualifies, the election would take place in mid-November or early December.

A Public Policy Institute of California poll conducted last month indicated 40% support for the recall.

Recall Leader: ‘Mafia Style Government’

“We have not received any significant donations that I’m aware of from any one particular farming interest.”— Orrin Heatlie, lead proponent of the Newsom recall effort

“There are a lot of people that I talk to and we’ve (lost out on) hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations because people just are too afraid to participate,” said Heatlie.

He referred to Newsom and state Democrats who suggested that any California company helping build President Donald Trump’s border wall would lose their California tax breaks. The 2018 bill authored by San Francisco Democrat Phil Ting, AB 2355, eventually died in committee.

“That’s a mafia style of government,” said Heatlie. “That’s not how the state of California should be run.”

Valley Pro-Recall Donations

Name City Employer Amount
Doug Howard Fresno Fresno Truck Center $250
Dorothy Salwasser Fresno Retired $100
Harold Woodall Fresno United Home Investments $100
James Gaddis Fresno Retired $100
Pamela Couto Fresno Retired $200
Kathleen Guestin Kingsburg CMC Fresno $100
Gilbert Moran Fresno Self-Employed $100
Kathy Shahbazian Fresno Self-Employed $200
Andrew Hartman Fresno Door Dash $100
Red Apple Café Fresno Red Apple Café $100
Gary Hatcher Fresno CMD $100
Emily Smith Fresno UPL $100
Judith Nelson Fresno Retired $50
Erica Kious Fresno Esalon $300
Laura Navarro Fresno Retired $20
Jack Nelson Fresno Retired $125
Cindy Fukuyama Fresno Retired $100
Jon Burd Fresno Military $100
Laura Navarro (2) Fresno Retired $20
Michael Uribe Fresno BMC $100
Dorothy Salwasser (2) Fresno Retired $100
Harold Woodall (2) Fresno United Home Investments $100
James Gaddis (2) Fresno Retired $100
Pamela Couto (2) Fresno Retired $200
Candas Holt Clovis Homemaker $200
Donna Battigaglia Clovis Permanently Disabled $100
Michael Sanders Clovis Mikes $100
Jeff Davis Clovis Davis Commercial Real Estate $100
Harold Corpuz Clovis Amentum $150
Janie Partain Clovis Retired $50
Chloe Foster Clovis Retired $75
Julia Scott Clovis (Not Listed) $100
Marcus Asay Clovis Self-Employed $25
Jeffrey Davis Clovis Real Estate Broker $250
Ammonia Refrigeration Visalia $500
Ellen Woitalla Visalia Retired $100
Edward Needham Visalia Self-Employed $250
Brooke Mack Visalia Visalia Imaging & Open MRI $200
Alan Benoy Insurance Visalia $100
Rena Bellman Visalia Self-Employed $100
James Abbate Merced Alia Corp. $250
Lynette Duston Hanford Retired $350
Robin Fagundes Hanford Self-Employed $100
IRM, Inc. Madera $250
William Bradley Madera WBE $100
Laddyne Loquaci Madera Retired $50
Breck Altaffer Tulare Retired $100
Cheryl Leyendekker Tulare Holstein Farms $100
Louie Limas Tulare Property Manager $100
Larry Stone Tulare Stone Chey Buick GMC $100

Valley Anti-Recall Donations

There are currently no direct Valley donations to the anti-recall campaign listed on the California Secretary of State’s website.

The Renicks’ donations show a Los Angeles address. However, the Wonderful Company has extensive farming operations in the Valley.

Name City Employer Amount
Stewart Resnick Los Angeles The Wonderful Company $125,000
Lynda Resnick Los Angeles The Wonderful Company $125,000