It’s been an open secret that Republican Johnny Tacherra next year will take a third straight crack at ousting incumbent Fresno Democrat Jim Costa in the 16th Congressional District.
Now it looks to be official.
Tacherra has scheduled his campaign kickoff on April 25. It will be an evening barbecue at the Goodman Barn in Dos Palos.
In 2012, Tacherra didn’t make it past the primary election. That year, Republican Brian Whelan advanced from the primary and was soundly beaten by Costa in the November general election.
Last year, however, Tacherra emerged from the June top two primary and came within 1,334 votes — just 1.4 percentage points — of upsetting Costa in one of the closest congressional elections in California.
Tacherra is asking $270 per person for his kickoff event, and he might have to use a lot of that money to pay off outstanding debts from last year’s tight race.
In that campaign, Tacherra raised almost $320,000. He also loaned his campaign an additional $24,881.
But Tacherra spent it all, and more, as he tried to keep pace with Costa, who raised more than $1.5 million and spent more than $1.1 million.
Tacherra still owes his consultants, CrossCurrents, more than $40,000 for not just consulting work, but also TV, radio and Facebook ad buys, as well as automated phone calls. He also still has more than $18,000 of the original $24,881 in loans he owes to himself, though it is unclear if that money will be repaid.
Even after Tacherra rights his financial ship, campaign experts say he’ll have a much harder time defeating Costa next year because it is a presidential election year and turnout will skyrocket. Early on, the National Republican Congressional Committee seems to agree. Last month, it released a list of 19 Democrats it will target in next year’s elections. Costa wasn’t on the list.