Former congressman George Radanovich says he is running for a termed-out state Assembly seat, for the district covering north Fresno, Clovis, and several mountain communities.
“Crime, the cost of living, homelessness, failing schools, and an infrastructure unable to meet our water and transportation needs are all the result of failed leadership in Sacramento,” Radanovich, R-Mariposa, said in a news release.
Radanovich will face political newcomer David Tangipa, a Clovis Republican and former Fresno State football player. Tangipa currently is a staffer for Fresno County Supervisor Nathan Magsig.
Tangipa officially launched his campaign last week, with the endorsement of the man both he and Radanovich want to replace, Jim Patterson, R-Fresno.
Watch: David Tangipa Announces Run for Assembly
Patterson is termed out after 2024. He was first elected in 2012.
“This race is about the future of California. Not about Radanovich or anyone else,” Tangipa said in a lengthy statement. “This is about California needing to take a new step into the future because we cannot keep doing the same and expect different results.”
The seven-county district has a decided 14-point Republican advantage over Democrats (44% to 30%). The counties include all or parts of Fresno— where 63% of the voters reside — Tuolumne, Madera, Calaveras, Mariposa, Inyo, and Mono.
Radanovich Ran And Lost in 2022
A farmer and winemaker, Radanovich served eight terms in Congress, from 1995-2011. After not seeking re-election in 2010, Radanovich was president of the Fresno-based California Fresh Fruit Association.
He attempted a political comeback in 2022, running for a state Senate seat in a 13-county district covering the mountain communities with a slight Republican advantage.
In a nightmare scenario in the top-two era of California voting, two Democrats sneaked by six Republicans in the June 2022 primary. Radanovich garnered 17%, most of any of the Republicans running, but third overall and out of the November general election.
The news also comes with an endorsement for Radanovich from former Assemblyman Frank Bigelow, R-O’Neals, meaning he will not be seeking a return to Sacramento.
Bigelow opted not to run in 2022 against Patterson. The two were drawn in the same district. Bigelow had one term of eligibility remaining, serving as an Assemblyman from 2012-2022.
In the latest election filing, Bigelow reported $506,248 cash on hand for his 2024 Assembly account. He also has $408,266 for a 2026 run for lieutenant governor; and almost $23,000 for an independent expenditure committee for ballot issues.
A Bigelow spokeswoman said it is “to be determined” if Bigelow actually runs for lieutenant governor.
Early Endorsements and Finances
Radanovich also announced the endorsement of Coalinga rancher John Harris.
Tangipa has the backing of Fresno County Sheriff John Zanoni, former sheriff Margaret Mims, Fresno County District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp, and several other regional elected leaders. Also endorsing Tangipa is William Bourdeau, executive vice president of Harris Ranch.
Financially, Tangipa only lists a $5,500 contribution from Fresno developer Richard F. Spencer.
Radanovich reported $6,043 remaining from his 2022 Senate account.