For a time, it looked like Garry Bredefeld might win the District 6 Fresno City Council race outright by getting more than 50 percent of the vote in the June 7 primary election.
In the end, he fell a bit short, capturing 48.95 percent of the vote.
That means he’ll face Jeremy Pearce, the second-place finisher in the June election, in a November runoff.
As that fall campaign kicks off, it’s clear Pearce has a hard road ahead.
The biggest reason is the June vote. While Bredefeld, a clinical psychologist who previously held the District 6 seat from 1997 through the end of 2000, came within about a percentage point of winning a majority of the vote, Pearce’s second place finish was distant, with 25.1 percent of the vote.
That means Pearce, an Elvis tribute entertainer, basically has to double his vote total in November if he hopes to win.
Knowing that reality, Pearce faces a second challenge almost as daunting: Bredefeld is starting the November race with more than $37,600 in his campaign account; Pearce’s campaign is starting underwater. He’s $1,967 in the red counting his campaign debt. The numbers were as of June 30, and reflect the point where the two finalists finished the June primary race – and the point from which they are essentially starting the fall campaign.
Pearce knows all this, but when he assesses the situation, he sees a path to victory in November.
“Number one, a lot of people were waiting to see if there was even going to be a runoff,” he said. “It was not official until the first of July.”
Now that the election is set, and people are starting to re-engage in civic life following summer vacations, Pearce thinks the money will start flowing. That includes a planned fundraiser at the end of this month.
The next campaign finance report, he said, will look much better than this one.
Bredefeld was unfazed by Pearce’s analysis.
He raised more than $166,000 in the race, including a $30,000 self loan, and ran his campaign on $127,260. Pearce raised $72,102, including an $8,000 self loan, and spent every penny and more.
“I intend to outwork, out walk, out raise and out debate my opponent in every aspect of this race,” Bredefeld said.
Pearce said there was a community divide among donors between his campaign and that of third-place finisher Holly Carter. As Carter’s campaign faltered ahead of the election, Pearce said more contributions started coming his way.
He expects that to continue, and sees a path to victory from winning over Carter’s supporters and taking away some of Bredefeld’s support.
“This is the most conservative district in Fresno, and Garry is a very liberal Republican,” Pearce said. “The county (Republican) party endorsed me. I was unknown politically except for those who knew I worked for Congressman Radanovich. It took awhile to pick up steam. (Bredefeld is) not gaining steam.”
Bredefeld countered that Pearce’s campaign is built on “partisanship and hypocrisy.”
“I’m a proud Republican and a conservative, but he has run a very partisan race and the problems facing our city are not partisan in nature,” Bredefeld said. “I’m somebody who believes in bringing everyone together and everyone should have a voice. I’m about being inclusive.”
Fresno City Council District 6 Fundraising
(As of June 30)
Cash on hand: $37,629
Campaign debt (not including self loans): 0
Cash on hand: $1,049
Campaign debt (not including self loans): $3,016