Dan Ronquillo and Sal Quintero were Fresno City Council colleagues from 1995 to 2002 and adversaries in the 2000 mayoral election that was won by Alan Autry.
Now, more than a dozen years later, that shared political history will once again intersect.
Both men say they will seek the Fresno County supervisor seat currently held by Henry R. Perea.
There is a lot of overlap, Quintero notes, between his current city council district and supervisor District 3, which he says will help his campaign. He is seeking endorsements and will soon file an official statement of candidacy.
Ronquillo’s political efforts have largely been behind the scenes since losing to Phil Larson by just 300 votes in a 2002 Fresno County supervisor run.
He‘s been involved with fundraising for the Central Unified School District and trying to raise money for inner-city home building in Fresno. Four years ago, Ronquillo says, he moved from supervisor District 1 (a seat now held by Brian Pacheco) to District 3. Larson retired and was replaced this year by Pacheco.
Quintero, by comparison, has stayed around elective politics.
After reaching his City Council term limit in 2002 he served as chief of staff to his successor, Mike Dages, who was his chief of staff. They switched places. In 2010, Quintero reclaimed his old seat when Dages termed out, and still is in that post. Quintero was reelected last year.
In 2004, Quintero ran for the District 3 supervisor seat, losing to Perea.
Neither Quintero nor Ronquillo were ready to talk much about their coming clash.
“I’m not running against anybody,” Quintero says. “I’m just running for the position.”
Says Ronquillo: “Sal’s a great guy. We got along well on the city council.”
Ronquillo did say one of his main reasons for running was to increase cooperation between the county and the city of Fresno, as well as Clovis and other cities, on job creation efforts. One of those areas is food processing.
“We have a pot of gold in our backyard,” Ronquillo says. “Why go all over the world looking for it?”
On Wednesday, Ronquillo officially filed a statement of intention with the Fresno County Clerk to run for the office.
A third person is also looking at a run. In early August, Tony Gastelum filed a statement of intention with the Fresno County Clerk. Gastelum made an unsuccessful Fresno City Council run in 1998.
With Ronquillo and Quintero committing to a supervisor run, it indicates Perea is likely to bypass another supervisor term and instead run for mayor next year. Perea did not return a text message seeking comment.
In other words, with the June 2016 primary election less than nine months away, the wheels of Fresno’s political machinery are in motion.