Political Notebook

Henry R. Perea gives strongest hint yet he’ll run for Fresno mayor

Fresno County Supervisor Henry Perea speaks at the Latino Family Wellness Event at Manchester Center in April 2014. He is currently mulling a Fresno mayoral run and this past Saturday told a group that he was 99.9 percent sure he would join the race to replace termed out Mayor Ashley Swearengin.
Fresno County Supervisor Henry Perea speaks at the Latino Family Wellness Event at Manchester Center in April 2014. He is currently mulling a Fresno mayoral run and this past Saturday told a group that he was 99.9 percent sure he would join the race to replace termed out Mayor Ashley Swearengin. Vida Staff Photo

Fresno City Council Member Lee Brand long ago said he’d run for mayor this year, when Ashley Swearengin reaches her term limit. In November, he was joined in the race by community activist H. Spees.

Political watchers across the city have never believed they’d be the only two viable candidates. What about Fresno police Chief Jerry Dyer? In or out? Last month came the answer: Out.

Through it all, Fresno County Supervisor Henry R. Perea has been a quiet presence. The other shoe to Dyer.

The field of viable, potentially electable candidates for Fresno’s top elected position can’t be totally settled until Perea makes a final decision – mayoral run, supervisor reelection run or some other unknown option.

I think it was very positive (reaction), given that he’s the only Democrat.

Photographer and retired attorney Howard Watkins on Henry Perea’s Fresno mayoral statement

Perea has long kept local prognosticators guessing.

On Saturday, Jan. 9, however, he gave the strongest hint yet that he will run for mayor, telling around 75 people gathered at a Central Valley Progressive Political Action Committee potluck that he is 99.9 percent sure he will run.

The event was held at the home of photographer and retired attorney Howard Watkins, who confirmed Perea’s remarks.

“I think it was very positive (reaction), given that he’s the only Democrat,” Watkins said. “He’s more labor-oriented. He’s doing a good job on the supervisors.”

Brand and Spees are both Republicans, as is another possible candidate, Doug Vagim.

Still, 99.9 percent isn’t 100 percent, and until Perea fills in the .01 percent, it isn’t official.

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