Political Notebook

Arambula tops Olivier in early Assembly race fundraising

Joaquin Arambula, D-Kingsburg
Joaquin Arambula, D-Kingsburg

Nobody said it would be easy for a Republican to take the 31st Assembly seat away from the Democrats.

The district has been in Democratic hands since the mid-1970s, and Democrats hold a 20-percentage-point voter registration advantage over Republicans.

That makes it hard for a Republican to get traction in the ever-important fundraising battle.

Sure enough, new campaign finance data shows that Democrat Joaquin Arambula is off to a strong start, posting far bigger fundraising numbers than Republican Clint Olivier. Both are vying to replace Fresno Democrat Henry T. Perea, who is termed out at the end of next year.

Arambula raised $150,000 in the 10 weeks between the start of his campaign and June 30. He had around $138,000 in his account at the end of June.

By comparison, Olivier raised around $42,000 in the first six weeks of his campaign. He has $40,000 in his account.

It’s still early, and Arambula did get a month head start on Olivier, but the fundraising challenges are clear for Olivier.

Arambula has a known name, with his father Juan having served as a Fresno County supervisor and then three terms in the very Assembly seat his son now seeks. It also appears that Arambula has cleared the field of other name Democratic challengers — most notably Fresno Unified trustee Luis Chavez.

With no other Democrats, the support of Perea and the Arambula name, the Selma emergency room doctor will likely be able to tap into the Sacramento donor base, including political action committee money.

Olivier is a sitting Fresno City Council member, which can help in raising money, but he’ll have to show he has a chance to beat Arambula to attract outside cash. Only time will tell if that will happen.

At this point, it looks like the 31st District race will be a one-on-one contest. A few months ago, there was the possibility of multiple candidates, but as the dust has cleared, it now appears to be a Olivier vs. Arambula race.