The Union Democrat

Mother Lode assemblyma­n to seek Fresno County supervisor seat in 2024

- By TIM SHEEHAN The Fresno Bee

Fresh off a successful re-election bid for a sixth term in the California Assembly, Fresno Republican Jim Patterson publicly mused about his political future after he is termed out of office in 2024.

Patterson, guest hosting on KMJ 580 AM’S Ray Appleton Show on Wednesday, said that after what will have been 12 years in the Legislatur­e, he will be ready to “come home” to Fresno, but not necessaril­y to relax in retirement.

Instead, Patterson said he is likely to make a run for the Fresno County Board of Supervisor­s in 2024. By that time, Patterson – a longtime fixture in Fresno politics – will be 76 years old. In addition to serving in the Assembly since 2012, he served two four-year terms as the city’s mayor from 1993 to 2001, and in between tried his hand at a couple of other political campaigns.

Patterson resides with his wife, Sharon, in northwest Fresno, in Fresno County’s District 2, currently represente­d by incumbent Supervisor – and fellow Republican – Steve Brandau.

“I want to come home,” Patterson told The Fresno Bee on Wednesday afternoon. “I want to serve in a place where my experience as mayor and in the Legislatur­e can be as helpful as possible for the part of the city I’ve lived in for almost 40 years.”

Patterson added that he expects to create a campaign committee, file paperwork and create campaign accounts in the first quarter of 2023 in anticipati­on of a run.

“The reason I wanted to tip my intentions was to give other people sort of a heads-up. I think it will cause people to start deciding about their support and other plans.”

But a lot can happen in two years – including a change of heart to pursue other courses of action.

“People have approached me on other kinds of things that fit well with my experience and talents that may not be in the political world,” he told The Bee. “This is the path I’m going on right now.”

“There will be a lot of people in the race” to succeed him in the Assembly, Patterson added. “There’s a 12-year term limit. I wanted to make sure people understood where my preference­s lay so they could make certain conclusion­s.”

Already in the seat

Of course, there is the matter of incumbent Brandau, who has options of his own in 2024, including: seek another fouryear term on the Board of Supervisor­s and contend with a challenge from Patterson; run for some other elected post – perhaps seeking to succeed Patterson in the 8th Assembly District.

The sprawling Assembly district not only overlaps most of the county board district, but also encompasse­s parts of Madera, Merced and Tuolumne counties and all of Calaveras, Inyo, Mariposa and Mono counties.

Brandau told The Bee that he plans to run for another term on the county board in 2024. “I feel I’ve done a good job representi­ng the people in my district,” he said in a text message Wednesday afternoon. “The voters get the final say.”

“If I were Jim, I would have waited until his current Assembly race was certified; you know, let the ink dry,” Brandau added. “I would also have thanked the voters of Assembly District 8 rather than tell them I am looking for a new job.”

Long political history

Patterson was in the broadcasti­ng business as a radio station owner before he made his first run for elected office in 1993, when he ran for and won an election to become Fresno’s mayor. In 1997, when he was re-elected, he became the first to hold the position under the new strong mayor form of municipal governance.

After he was termed out as mayor in 2001, Patterson ran in 2002 for the U.S. House of Representa­tives, a contest that ultimately was won by Devin Nunes, R-tulare. Patterson finished second to Nunes in the primary election.

In 2010, he made another run for Congress, this time in the 19th Congressio­nal District to succeed retiring Rep. George Radanovich, R-mariposa. Patterson again placed second in the Republican primary, this time behind eventual winner Jeff Denham, R-turlock.

His 2012 election to the state Assembly in the 23rd District was the first of what is now a string of six consecutiv­e winning campaigns.

But announcing a potential run for supervisor and winning are two different things.

“We don’t own these offices. We occupy them through the good graces of the voters,” Patterson said. “I’m not looking to push anybody out. … I’m not talking about running against Steve” so much as running for an opportunit­y to continue to serve constituen­ts.

“If I wasn’t convinced that there was substantia­l intrinsic support for me, I wouldn’t have made the announceme­nt.”

 ?? John Walker
/TNS ?? Assemblyma­n Jim Patterson speaks at a March 28 press conference, announcing legislativ­e efforts hes introducin­g that would create a new state grant to fund outreach, prevention and awareness of the fentanyl crisis.
John Walker /TNS Assemblyma­n Jim Patterson speaks at a March 28 press conference, announcing legislativ­e efforts hes introducin­g that would create a new state grant to fund outreach, prevention and awareness of the fentanyl crisis.

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