Fresno Bee Newsroom Blog

Case won’t seek re-election; heated battle for her seat expected

Fresno County Supervisor Judy Case, who is currently in her fourth term, announced today that she will not seek re-election next year.

It’s a decision that could have huge ramifications for the board’s political future.

Case, 61, is currently part of a four-member conservative majority on the board, along with Debbie Poochigian, Phil Larson and Andreas Borgeas.

Supervisor Judy Case

Unions and others unhappy with that rightward lean were expected to make a strong play next year for Case’s seat — even if she sought a fifth term — as well as District 1, which is held by Larson and is also up for election in 2014.

“The board has a lot of people who are unhappy with it, a lot of employees, so obviously they are looking for a board that is friendlier,” said former Supervisor Susan Anderson, who didn’t seek reelection last year.

Case’s District 4 seat covers a large part of the county’s southern half, including Sanger, Selma, Kingsburg and Coalinga.

“I think its’ going to be a feisty contest,” Poochigian said of the District 4 battle.

Fresno State political science professor Jeff Cummins thinks that “unless some strong candidate rises up, I’d say you’re probably going to have somebody along (Case’s) ideological lines, being conservative.”

But, Cummins added, public-employee unions are coming off two strong political victories — Measure G, the city of Fresno’s residential trash privatization proposal, and Measure O, the county’s proposal to privatize public services.

“I definitely think they’ll try to make a strong push to move (Case’s) seat to their side,” he said.

Case put out a six-paragraph statement on her decision, but it gave no clue to her reasons for not seeking re-election. She did not return a phone call seeking comment.

Instead, the news release talked about her “close relationships” with civic organizations and communities in her district and the importance of agriculture in the county.

It also talked about her long tenures on four boards — the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, the Selma Kingsburg Fowler Sanitation District, the Fresno County Transportation Authority, and the Fresno Council of Governments.

Case was first elected to the Board of Supervisors in 1998. She was reelected three times after that — in 2002, 2006 and 2010 — and served as chairman three times.

Prior to that, she served a four-year term on the Sanger City Council, including two years as the city’s first woman mayor.

“We’ve been together on votes, we’ve opposed each other on votes,” Poochigian said. “We work well together. She’s good with numbers. I’d call her a fiscal conservative, which is just what this board needed these past five years.”

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