Local Election

Brandau wins Fresno County supervisor race, avoiding runoff in three-way race

Fresno County District 2 candidates, from left, Steve Brandau, Steve Hosey and Nasreen Johnson are running in the March 5 special election.
Fresno County District 2 candidates, from left, Steve Brandau, Steve Hosey and Nasreen Johnson are running in the March 5 special election. Photos provided by candidates

Steve Brandau defeated Nasreen Johnson and Steve Hosey on Tuesday night to become the next Fresno County supervisor, according to special election results.

Brandau had 12,802 votes to Johnson’s 7,071 and Hosey’s 2,370 with all 87 precincts reporting. With 57 percent of the vote, Brandau avoids a runoff election in June.

Brandau replaces Andreas Borgeas as the District 2 supervisor. Borgeas was elected in November to the California State Senate.

“I’m very happy to get it over with now in the primary, and to earn the trust of north Fresno and west Clovis,” Brandau told The Bee shortly after the final election-night update was posted.

Johnson and Hosey could not be reached for comment.

Brandau, a Fresno city councilman, entered the race shortly after Borgeas left office. Johnson, the director of marketing and communications for the Fresno Economic Opportunities Commission, and Hosey, a developer, small business owner and former Major League Baseball player, joined the fray shortly after. Each has been actively campaigning for about two months.

The victory allows Brandau to continue representing north Fresno, as he was due to reach a term limit on the City Council in 2020. The county district runs from Clovis in the east to Sierra Sky Park in northwest Fresno, while dipping as far south as Shields Avenue in central Fresno and as far north as Friant.

Brandau said he saw his election to the Board as a continuation of six years of work on the council, adding that he hoped to continue to address nagging issues such as homelessness, mental health care, public safety and economic expansion.

Fresno has had recent success in bringing new jobs to the city, Brandau said, and he hoped to bring that same success to the county.

The timetable for Brandau’s move from one governing body to another will depend on Fresno County Clerk Brandi Orth, who will have to collect any remaining mail ballots and certify the election. She expects to do so in the next few weeks.

Orth finished the initial ballot counts in a few hours on Tuesday night. However, any mail-in ballots postmarked with Tuesday’s date and received before 5 p.m. Friday will be counted as they are received. Orth will also begin counting any provisional ballots or mail-in ballots cast on election day on Wednesday.

On Wednesday, Orth announced there were 5,200 by-mail ballots and 600 provisional ballots left to count. The next update will be on Friday afternoon.

Once the election is certified, Brandau will be able to resign from the Fresno City Council, city spokesman Mark Strandriff said. The council will then declare a vacancy, and city staff will declare a special election date within 90 days.

The process will then be handed back over to Orth, who will run the new election.

Orth said Tuesday’s special election will end up costing the county about $250,000.

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Clovis City Council

Three incumbents on the Clovis City Council – Jose “Joe” Flores, Drew Bessinger and Bob Whalen – also won re-election over the one challenger for three at-large seats, Maeketah Rivera.

Whalen had 6,614 votes to Bessinger’s 6,623, Flores’ 6,030 and Rivera’s 1,652 with all precincts reporting.

Coalinga Medical Center

A measure that would allow the board of Coalinga Regional Medical Center to sell the public hospital to a private, for-profit business at fair market value also passed, with 1,347 voters choosing “yes” to only 100 “no” votes.

The business, Coalinga Medical Center, LLC, intends to reopen the hospital, which closed in June. According to the board’s resolution calling for an election, the hospital has struggled with major financial problems for some time.

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Rory Appleton is a fourth-generation Fresnan who covers politics for his hometown newspaper. A Fresno State graduate, he has won six first-place California News Publishers Association awards and a McClatchy President’s Award for his reporting and column writing over the last two years.