Sanger Democrat Amanda Renteria, who last year made an unsuccessful congressional run, is almost certain to be national political director for Hillary Clinton if Clinton runs for president in 2016.
Sources said Renteria will take the job. Multiple national media outlets reported that Renteria was likely to be offered the job or was under serious consideration.
Before this, Renteria’s next political step looked pretty clear, and it wasn’t a second congressional run against Hanford Republican David Valadao, who defeated her last November.
After losing to Valadao, Renteria was recruited and looked poised to run for Henry T. Perea’s state Assembly seat in 2016, when he reaches his term limit. In fact, several sources said she was definitely going to do it.
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The buzz changed dramatically Thursday. The Washington insider publication Roll Call said Renteria was in line to be national political director for Clinton. Other media outlets soon followed, with Buzz Feed saying Renteria was a top contender for the high-profile position.
Putting Renteria in such a high-profile position would certainly be seen as courting Hispanic voters. Matt Barreto, co-founder of the polling firm Latino Decisions, said as much to Buzz Feed: “I think it’s a big signal that Hillary knows she has to and is going to take the Latino community seriously.”
Local Democrats — who thought they’d found the perfect Assembly candidate in Renteria — think the news is true, even though it remains officially unconfirmed. All of the area’s Democratic leaders declined to comment until anything is official.
Renteria, reached via text message, declined to comment.
Valadao last year defeated Renteria by 16 percentage points, but several local Democrats said they liked her and felt she was a great candidate, so they reached out to her to run for Perea’s seat.
Renteria, 40, lives in the Assembly district, which covers western and southern parts of Fresno County. Democrats dominate the district, making it likely that a Democrat will win next year. And more than half of eligible voters are Hispanic.
Last month, Renteria spent a few days in Sacramento at the invitation of close the gap CA, an organization that seeks to recruit progressive women to run for office. While in Sacramento, Renteria had dinner with Perea, Assembly Member Rudy Salas of Bakersfield and other Assembly Democrats.
It was an important step toward possibly working in the state Capitol. Renteria has a long history in Washington Beltway politics.
After a stint at Goldman Sachs and Harvard Business School, as well as a year teaching high school in Woodlake, her hometown, Renteria joined the staff of Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein. In 2006, she began working for Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, eventually rising to serve as chief of staff — the first Latina Capitol Hill chief of staff — while Stabenow chaired the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee. Renteria moved from Washington to Sanger in August 2013 and began preparations to challenge Valadao.
If Renteria takes the Clinton job — which some local Democrats called the chance of a lifetime — there is a feeling, though it isn’t certain, that she’ll move to somewhere in the New York City area, where Clinton is based. If Renteria does relocate back to the East Coast, local Democrats say, it would likely end any future runs for elective office — voters can appreciate a move back home to run for political office once, but not twice.
However, it is also possible that Renteria’s husband and two children would remain in Sanger. Whether she’s based in Sanger or New York City, most of her job would be spent on the road. If Renteria does keep her home base local, she could also keep open a future in elective office, supporters say.