On Monday, Fresno County Supervisor Judy Case said she wouldn’t seek re-election next year. In less than a day, rumors began swirling about those who were thinking about running for the seat.
By Wednesday, the rumor mill had churned out close to a dozen names. But so far, only one person had taken the first official step toward a run — Riverdale farmer Ernest “Buddy” Mendes.
He’s already formed an official exploratory committee. The paperwork is on file with the Fresno County Elections office.
Mendes, 57, said he’s thinking about running because he feels he can give the county effective representation.
He farms cotton, wheat, alfalfa, corn and pistachios and has land on both the Valley’s east and west sides. He also has a long history of public service, including the Riverdale Unified School Board (since 1993), the Southwest Transportation Agency Board (since 1996), and the Riverdale Public Utility District (since 1994). In 2011, he also served on the county’s Redistricting Task Force.
Mendes, however, says running for county supervisor is a big step up from those posts, one that would include significant campaigning and fundraising.
Case represents District 4, which covers the southern part of Fresno County, including the towns of Sanger, Coalinga, Selma, Kingsburg, Huron, Orange Cove and Reedley, among others.