I dropped by the North Fresno election night party for Andreas Borgeas on Tuesday. About 75 people were enjoying various beverages on the Elbow Room’s main patio. More were coming through the door. Fresno City Council Member Oliver Baines and Granville Homes Vice President Jeff Roberts were among those in attendance.
The State Senate District 8 candidate broke away from well-wishers to chat briefly with me. The time was shortly before 8 p.m. The polls were about to close. Borgeas, a Republican, had garnered nearly 60% of the total vote in the June primary. Being the ever cautious lawyer/veteran politician, he wasn’t about to assume victory at this stage of the general election.
Turns out victory is his. As of last Thursday morning, Borgeas had 135,939 votes (61.4%) to 85,366 votes (38.6%) for Democrat Paulina Medina. Borgeas, a former Fresno City Council member, currently sits on the Fresno County Board of Supervisors. That part of his political career will soon be in the rearview mirror.
Borgeas on Tuesday night wasn’t shy about talking issues with me. I asked what concerns resonated with District 8 voters during the campaign.
“If the voters should decide that we should represent them in Senate District 8, the issues over the course of the last two years that I have come to fully appreciate and internalize on behalf of the district include, obviously, water-related issues. That’s always a given. That’s key. But beyond the water and infrastructure issues, you have education. (We have too many) individuals who go off to the coast to get educated and don’t come back. We’ve discussed this for decades.
“The idea is developing that workforce in the community, in the Fresno County area or in the Valley itself, of an educated workforce, whether it be vocational, whether it be post-graduate. Because it seems that everyone who wants post-graduate education is naturally required to go elsewhere. If you want a JD (Juris Doctorate degree) from an ABA (American Bar Association)-accredited school, you’re going to go to the coast or somewhere else. If you want to go to medical school, same thing. We’ve discussed this ad nauseam. The talent that fails to return is the problem. But beyond that is that we need develop the talent that we have here, whether it be through vocational education, or organic business creation.”
Can you work with a state government dominated by Democrats?
“Absolutely. Even as a Republican, there is such commonality of interests. We may disagree on six of 10 issues on a philosophical basis. But across the board (there are issues of agreement). Fire protection has transcended the Valley. It has gone into Democratic strongholds. They know they, too, need to take environmental steps to thin out their forests lest they lose their greenery. They, too, understand that healthcare and its availability – it’s not just a state issue, it’s a national issue. Republicans and Democrats understand that need to come together on it. Education, infrastructure, economic development – there are tons of overlapping issues of mutual interest that certainly would allow both Democrats and Republicans to find common ground. That’s really what this is about. Find your common ground and be effective. That’s what the voters want.”
Will you get deeply involved in controversial issues such as immigration?
“I don’t think sanctuary policies are ultimately going to be an effective means of bridging the divide. I think what we have seen in this election, at least so far tonight, is that most Americans look upon us as a divided nation. If that is true, if we are a divided state and a divided nation, it requires individuals who are willing to find that common denominator and work for the betterment of the community. This is why people are elected, to be effective. And that is the path forward to being effective.”
I concluded by predicting he would get 60% of the vote.
Borgeas: “That’s too high.”
I called CVObserver Editor-in-Chief Guillermo Moreno later that evening. Guillermo was hosing election night coverage for Talk Radio 1680 KGED. Guillermo said he wouldn’t be surprised if someday we’re referring to Borgeas as “Congressman.”