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Another Fresno mayor candidate is out of the race. Who’s left?

Another challenger for Fresno’s mayoral seat has dropped out of the running.

Elliott Balch, the chief operations officer of the Central Valley Community Foundation, posted a message to his Facebook page Tuesday saying he’s exiting the mayor’s race.

“As the campaign has come to life, I have realized that I need to be directing my available time and energy into the health of my family rather than into the campaign,” the 38-year-old’s message said. “I’ve been in to win, and winning would require more time than I am able to commit going forward. Therefore, I am discontinuing our campaign at this time.”

Mayor Lee Brand has said he won’t run for re-election in November 2020 so Balch’s exit leaves just two candidates. Balch also joins Fresno City Councilmember Luis Chavez as candidates who have left the race this month.

Still campaigning are Police Chief Jerry Dyer and Fresno County prosecutor Andrew Janz, who announced his plan to run in April after an unsuccessful attempt to unseat Rep. Devin Nunes from the state 22nd congressional district.

Balch said he would reserve his endorsement in case others joined the race in the next four months, but said he believes Fresno should not choose the man who has been the city’s police chief for the last 18 years.

“I do think that our community needs new leadership and new ways of thinking. Younger and fresher leadership,” he said. “I certainly do respect Chief Dyer’s time in the community, but I think we need change.”

Balch was born and raised in Fresno, graduated from Edison High School and earned a bachelor’s degree at Harvard. He later got his master’s degree from the University of Chicago.

He also worked under former Mayor Ashley Swearengin managing downtown Fresno’s revitalization. Last year, he was a leader in the Measure P campaign to pass a parks sales tax.

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Reporter Thaddeus Miller has covered cities in the central San Joaquin Valley since 2010, writing about everything from breaking news to government and police accountability. A native of Fresno, he joined The Fresno Bee in 2019 after time in Merced and Los Banos.
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