Local Elections

Autry Endorses Swearengin

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

With Mayoral candidate Ashley Swearengin as his guest, out going Mayor Alan Autry used his daily radio show to reveal his choice.

He told his listeners, "I made an announcement and I'm gonna make it here right now. I sent out a press release, that I'm voting for Ashley Swearengin."

Swearengin responded, saying, "You know Alan that I appreciate your support very much and I've told many people that I'm in this race because of the job Mayor Alan Autry has done."

Following the broadcast, Autry said he had planned to stay neutral in this race but added:" Things that have transpired that I won't get into contributed to my decision to come out."

Autry was recently put off by an accusation made by Swearengin's opponent, Henry T. Perea, that Swearengin wanted to cut law enforcement funding.

ABC 30 Political Analyst Tony Capozzi see's Autry's endorsement as a big deal for Swearengin. "Clearly, if this was a national election this would be what's called an October surprise." Capozzi said.

Capozzi notes the surge in donations to Perea's campaign means Swearengin can use the support. Just today the City Clerk's office received notice that Perea received more than 45 thousand dollars from the Democratic Central Committee and at the very same time received notice that the Democratic Committee received 30 thousand dollars from the Friends of Henry R. Perea, who is Perea's father and a Fresno County Supervisor. The same document shows a with 10 thousand dollar donation to the party from Fresno Firefighters.

Capozzi says," The way the campaign is going there's been so many independent expenditures far exceeding anything that's been done in the past for Henry Perea. Hundreds of thousands of dollars." He notes Autry's endorsement should give Swearengin's campaign a "Jolt."

Barack Obama may be another factor in the Mayor's race. Perea, a young Hispanic Democrat may attract Obama supporters. Voter registration figures give Democrats a nearly ten thousand vote advantage in Fresno. But Swearengin says her support crosses party lines. "I think our campaign through and through has proven its bi-partisanship. Nothing makes me happier to see my yard sign alongside Obama's sign." Swearengin says.

The Mayor's race is supposed to be non-partisan, but the majority of Perea's support comes from Democrats, while Republicans are backing Swearengin.

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