Hopefuls starting to line up in races to replace Fresno Co. Supes Case, Larson

Posted by John Ellis on November 27, 2013 

Harry Gill

THE FRESNO BEE

The field of those hoping to replace outgoing Fresno County Supervisors Phil Larson and Judy Case is starting to grow, a development that could mean the replacements will not be known until next November.

Kerman Mayor Gary Yep is the latest to pull paperwork for a campaign. Yep will seek Larson's District 1 seat. Others who have officially expressed an interest in replacing Larson include Kerman dairyman Brian Pacheco, Fresno City Council Member Blong Xiong and San Joaquin Mayor Amarpreet "Ruby" Dhaliwal.

Yep -- whose paperwork was officially recorded Tuesday in the Fresno County Elections Office -- said he's been thinking about a run since early summer, only waiting to see what Larson would do.

"I'm in it to win it, there's no doubt in my mind," he said.

Pacheco already has the backing of Larson, Case and fellow Supervisor Debbie Poochigian, all Republicans, as well as Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims and the Nisei Farmers League.

But Yep pointed out that both Pacheco and Xiong are Democrats.

"The Republican Party was looking for somebody who was a registered Republican and who had a good reputation from the west side," he said.

Pacheco, Xiong and Yep have all said they are definitely in the race. Dhaliwal couldn't be reached for comment.

District 1 covers the northern half of western Fresno County, including urban west Fresno and smaller towns such as Mendota, Kerman and Firebaugh.

The race for the District 4 seat held by Case is also getting crowded.

Less than a week after Case said she wouldn't seek a fifth term on the board, Riverdale farmer Ernest "Buddy" Mendes and Fowler Mayor Pro Tem Daniel Parra said they would run to replace her.

Both have filed early paperwork declaring their intention to run. A few days later, former Reedley City Council Member Steve Rapada followed suit.

Now, Caruthers businessman and well-known Sikh community leader Harry Gill, 52, says he's running -- for sure -- though he has yet to file any paperwork.

Gill's candidacy isn't a total surprise. He's been serving on various county boards and commissions with the already stated goal of one day running for county supervisor. The only obstacle was Case. Gill was waiting for her to retire.

Already, he's paid some money for a poll. It was money well spent, he said.

"The survey comes up pretty good for me," he says.

District 4 covers the southern part of Fresno County, including the towns of Sanger, Coalinga, Selma, Kingsburg, Huron, Orange Cove and Reedley, among others.

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