Joaquin Arambula says he got a little ahead of himself.
He’s not living in Kingsburg, and he’s not a Democrat.
Last week, Arambula was identified as a Kingsburg Democrat in a Bee story about his potential 31st Assembly District run.
As it turns out, Arambula lives in Clovis, and is registered as no party preference, which means no political party.
Republicans quickly noticed the discrepancy.
Fred Vanderhoof, chairman of the Fresno County Republican Party, said Arambula “sounds like an opportunist” by moving to Kingsburg and changing his party affiliation.
“We need someone who lives in the area and knows the area and knows the people,” Vanderhoof said. “Republicans are looking for someone who meets that criteria.”
But Arambula realized it, too, and called The Bee to clarify the record. He says he and his wife signed a purchase agreement a month ago for a Kingsburg home. His Clovis house is packed up. As soon as final closing papers are signed, they plan to move. When they do, he’ll re-register as a Democrat.
In his head, Arambula says, he’s already living in Kingsburg and already back with the Democratic Party.
“I have been a lifelong Democrat,” he says. “Even after switching to decline-to-state (the old term for no party preference), I still voted Democrat,” he said.
The initial change from Democrat to no party, he says, was in solidarity with his father, then-Assembly Member Juan Arambula, who in June 2009 grew so frustrated with the Democrats in Sacramento that he became an independent.
A twist is that Joaquin Arambula is considering a run for the same seat his father once held — the 31st District. Current Assembly Member Henry T. Perea, a Fresno Democrat, will be termed out next year. Before Perea, Juan Arambula represented the district.
As for the move to southern Fresno County, Arambula said the reasons were to be closer to his work as a Selma emergency room physician. Selma is five miles from Kingsburg. It is a 30-mile commute from his Clovis home.
In addition, his wife grew up in a small town, and she missed the small-town atmosphere. They also liked the schools.
Whether he ran for office or not, Arambula says they planned to move.
Still, he says Kingsburg is also a perfect political location, and that did play a role in picking a new place to live. It is in the 31st Assembly District. It is also in the 21st Congressional District, currently held by Hanford Republican David Valadao.
Before pivoting to the Assembly, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee was trying to recruit Arambula to challenge Valadao.
“It had a lot of stuff going for it,” he says of the Kingsburg location. “But when it comes down to it, it’s always family and it’s always schools.”