Pat Di Cicco and Steve Brandau are battling it out for the District 2 seat on the Fresno City Council, and it's beginning to appear that some high-profile local Republicans will be doing the same.
Brandau has lined up endorsements from Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Tulare, Lincoln Club of Fresno County Chair Michael Der Manouel Jr. and, notably, the person he is seeking to replace -- Andreas Borgeas.
"I was impressed by both, but I gave the edge to Steve Brandau," Borgeas said. He said Brandau had a "quick grasp of very complex issues. I think he can start making decisions on Day 1."
But Di Cicco landed his own high-profile nod from former Secretary of State Bill Jones, who is one of the elder statesmen of Fresno's political scene.
In a statement, Jones said Di Cicco "knows how to draft a budget and stick to it. He'll reign in the out-of-control spending at City Hall."
Der Manouel noted that City Council jobs require only a couple of qualifications -- preparation and fiscal conservatism. Based on that, he's backing Brandau for the job.
Brandau will need the endorsements. As Borgeas noted, Di Cicco's name identification and ties to the famous restaurant family will make him "formidable."
In the June primary, Di Cicco finished first in a five-person race for the northwest Fresno district with 25.3% of the vote. Brandau finished second with 22.16%.
-- By John Ellis
District 31 candidate differs on vote total
Just how many votes did 31st Assembly District write-in candidate JD Bennett get in the June 5 primary election?
The Sanger resident -- who jumped into the race just two weeks before the primary and met the qualifications to officially be certified as a write-in candidate -- sent out a news release a few days ago that said he got 2,341 votes, 10.5% of the total.
State elections results, however, show Bennett with 299 votes, 1.3% of the total.
Bennett's opponent, incumbent Henry T. Perea, won 98.7% of the vote.
Bennett's claim of 2,341 write-in votes represents every single write-in vote cast in the 31st Assembly election.
The district doesn't reach beyond Fresno County borders, and county election figures show that 2,042 write-ins were for someone other than Bennett.
Bennett said county elections officials told him they stopped tabulating and certifying write-in votes as a time-saving measure.
So Bennett just concluded every one was for him.
"The total accuracy of the numbers, I don't know if anybody would ever know," he said.
Fresno County Clerk Brandi Orth disagreed with Bennett: "We process all the write-in votes, no matter who they are for, no matter how many there are."
Bennett, she said, got 299 votes. The other 2,042 were for "unqualified write-ins. Sometimes it's Mickey Mouse or whoever (voters) come up with. They were not for" Bennett.
Under the state's new top two primary election, the top two vote getters advance to the November general election. There were only two candidates.
-- By John Ellis