Political Notebook

Many could line up to run for Poochigian’s supervisorial seat

Former Fresno County district attorney Elizabeth Egan may consider running for District 5 supervisorial seat being vacated by Debbie Poochigian.
Former Fresno County district attorney Elizabeth Egan may consider running for District 5 supervisorial seat being vacated by Debbie Poochigian. Fresno Bee Staff Photo

The District 5 supervisorial seat held by Debbie Poochigian, who announced this week she will not seek re-election, is drawing interest from a number of potential candidates.

As of Friday, Clovis City Council Member Nathan Magsig and businessman and agricultural committee executive Alex Ott were the only candidates to have pulled papers to reduce their filing fees, but others are emerging as possibilities.

Magsig pulled papers Tuesday, the same day Poochigian said she was not going to run in November. He said Tuesday that he has always been interested in serving as a county supervisor. In 2008, he was defeated by Poochigian.

Ott, who lives in Fresno, said Friday, “I’m not definitely 100 percent in.”

But pulling papers allows him to measure the level of potential support and fundraising he has in the district, he said.

Before making a decision, Ott said, he will weigh family considerations and business commitments, which include running a food safety and security business and his leadership in the California Apple Commission, California Blueberry Commission and California Olive Committee.

Ott ran for a Clovis City Council seat in 2003 and finished fifth among eight candidates. The top three earned seats.

“We will do some soul searching, praying and phone calling,” said Ott, who also previously worked in the state Legislature.

Former District Attorney Elizabeth Egan, Mark D. Johnson, a Sanger farmer and lawyer, and podiatrist and rancher Allen O. Clyde all say they have varying degrees of interest in the county position.

Egan said she would “never say never” to possibly running for her friend’s supervisor’s seat, “but I’d have to think about it.”

She said the bruising, 18-month battle for district attorney that she lost to Lisa Smittcamp in 2014 took a toll on her. But the supervisor’s race could last just four months, ending with the June primary.

Egan said she will consult with her husband but wasn’t making any immediate plans.

Clyde, a Fresno County Office of Education board member, said he is interested in campaigning for the District 5 seat. From 1987 to 1991, he served as a trustee for Clovis Unified School District.

“It’s on the burner to think about,” he said.

His interest, too, may intensify if it’s a two-person race, because the winner would be determined in June, which would free him to run for a fifth term on the Fresno County Office of Education if he lost the supervisor election.

“I do love what I’m doing with the Office of Education,” he said.

In addition to his Clovis podiatry practice, Clyde also is a rancher near Tollhouse and operates Clyde Pack Outfitters at Dinkey Creek, Wishon Reservoir and Courtright Reservoir.

“I’m thinking about it,” he said. “It’s a serious commitment to serve the people at that level.”

Mark D. Johnson, a former Sanger mayor, also briefly served as Sanger’s city attorney about 15 years ago. A fourth generation rancher, Johnson now serves on the Sanger Cemetery Board and for 20 years has represented the 5th supervisorial district on Fresno County’s Republican Central Committee.

“I’ve been asked to look at it and I have talked about it,” Johnson said.

Poochigian will remain in office until January.

Marc Benjamin: 559-441-6166, @beebenjamin