Three people have officially pulled papers to run for the Fresno County supervisor seat being vacated by Debbie Poochigian, but just one of them has the built-in advantage of six-figures sitting in a campaign account.
That would be Clovis City Council Member Nathan Magsig, who had $130,000 sitting in his city campaign account. All of that money has now been moved over to his supervisor account.
The right-out-of-the-gate cash infusion gives Magsig a huge head start on podiatrist, rancher and business owner Allen O. Clyde, and agriculture committee executive and business owner Alex Ott, the other two people who have taken the early official steps to run for Poochigian’s District 5 seat.
“My goal is to raise $400,000, including the transfer, by mid-March,” Magsig said. “I’m giving this thing all I’ve got.”
Being an incumbent with a well-stocked campaign account is a huge plus in this race. Poochigian announced in mid-January that she wouldn’t seek reelection. That was less than five months before the June 7 primary. It is a short time window that doesn’t give hopefuls much of a chance to get a campaign together and raise the money needed to get their name to voters and campaign against their opponents..
For those reasons, having the $130,000 – and being a sitting incumbent – has made Magsig the front-runner, though he says he’ll never approach the race that way.
Clyde is also a sitting office holder, but in the much lower-profile Fresno County Board of Education.
A few things could change this dynamic. The biggest would be if Lynne Ashbeck ran. She is, like Magsig, a sitting Clovis council member with a campaign account. Clovis hasn’t had a contested election since 2009, so its members have been able to raise money and haven’t had to expend any on elections.
The other would be if a candidate found some generous donor with deep pockets, or loaned their own campaign a huge amount of personal funds.