Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Salinas City Councilman Sergio Sanchez may challenge Supervisor Fernando Armenta for his seat in the June 2008 election, political insiders tell the Weekly.
While Sanchez won’t say he’s going to run against Armenta, he also won’t rule out the possibility. “At the moment my focus is issues facing the city and my district,” Sanchez says.
If Sanchez does decide to run, Armenta, who represents District 1, would face his first opponent since he was elected in 2000. Armenta defeated Paul Fickas in 2000 and ran unopposed in 2004.
Sanchez would be a worthy rival, Armenta says. “I know Sergio is a good fighter,” he says. “I know he would give me a very tough campaign.”
Armenta says he will talk with Sanchez about his concerns, like he did with City Councilman Tony Barrera about six months ago. Barrera was contemplating challenging Armenta, says the sitting supervisor, but ended up endorsing him. If elected to a third term, Armenta says he wants to finish the fifth version of the county’s general plan and focus on improving health care, affordable housing and gang prevention.
Although Armenta doesn’t have a declared opponent, he is actively raising money. He has more than $77,000 in the bank, according to his most recent campaign disclosure statement. Armenta says he’ll soon have close to $100,000.
Most of Armenta’s latest contributions have come from ag companies, land use attorneys and the hospitality industry, including more than $2,500 this year from Laguna Seca Golf Ranch and $3,300 from Hyatt Regency Monterey. Armenta has also received plenty of free rounds at posh golf courses, free stays at expensive hotels and 12 bottles of wine from Ventana Vineyards.