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This year, Valley Public Radio is doing elections coverage differently. We’re asking listeners and residents, what do you want candidates to talk about? Are you concerned about healthcare, housing, or homelessness?We put out a survey from July through October to find out. More than 150 residents throughout the San Joaquin Valley took the survey.The most concerning issue for many is how the economy will recover from COVID-19. Others identified housing and homelessness in local communities as a major issue; others were most concerned for the environment. As we interview candidates and continue our election coverage, we’ll keep these responses in mind. You can keep up with our coverage on this page, or send questions about our process to Laura Tsutsui at ltsutsui@kvpr.org.

Fresno Mayoral Candidates File Semi-Annual Campaign Disclosures

Laura Tsutsui
Valley Public Radio
Jerry Dyer (left) and Andrew Janz are both running for mayor in Fresno. While Janz gained national recognition from his congressional bid, Dyer is well known as Fresno's Chief of Police.

Late last month, those hoping for the City of Fresno’s top job filed their semi-annual campaign disclosures, showing the cash campaigns have on hand up until the end of June, and where it came from. 

The adage is that those who raise and spend the most money often win elections. Last year, Fresno County Prosecutor Andrew Janz raised millions in his effort to unseat Congressman Devin Nunes. In his current bid for Fresno mayor, Janz raised nearly $70,000 in monetary contributions in about two months.

“We're trying to run a positive, issues-based campaign,” says Janz. “We want to make sure that we don't take money from folks that have really had a stranglehold on city politics, which are really, I think, folks who live in North Fresno and developers.”

Janz adds, he doesn’t think developers are bad, but he says the city has a “history of corruption” when it comes to accepting donations from them.

Only about a quarter of gifts Janz received prior to July are from Fresno residents, but he does have more individual donors to his campaign than the other candidate.

By comparison, 73 percent of Police Chief Jerry Dyer’s donations are from within the city, and overall, most of the gifts are from Central Valley residents. In just a month, Dyer raised over $255,000. Some of that is from local developers.

“They are part of our community,” Dyer says. “To exclude them from financially contributing to any type of political office, I think, is not necessary. Those people have a vested right in Fresno.”

Dyer and Janz are the last candidates standing in a mayoral race that at one point had 7 contenders. Earlier this week, Elliott Balch announced in an email to supporters that he would be ending his campaign. But it’s not too late for more candidates to jump in; the window to file doesn’t close until later this year. 

Laura Tsutsui was a reporter and producer for Valley Public Radio. She joined the station in 2017 as a news intern, and later worked as a production assistant and weekend host. Laura covered local issues ranging from politics to housing, and produced the weekly news program Valley Edition. She left the station in November 2020.