Jose Sigala, last year’s Democratic challenger to Republican Assemblymember Devin Mathis, raised a total of $77,592 by the final filing deadline of the 2018 election. As of today, 456 days from the November election, Drew Phelps has already exceeded $79,000 in total contributions, and become the most well-financed and competitive Democratic challenger in the history of the district.
The record-setting fundraising haul is powered by a surge in early grassroots support, with Phelps drawing in nearly three times as many individual donors as his Republican rival, although lagging significantly behind in contributions from corporations. When asked for his thoughts on why Valley residents were supporting his campaign in such historic numbers, Drew had this to say:
“I think the campaign filings really speak for themselves. We’ve been out here running a campaign that actually speaks to the issues people are facing in their own lives or seeing in their own community, and they’re stepping up and getting involved, sometimes for the first time. Meanwhile, corporations like Monsanto, Chevron, and Phillip Morris keep writing big checks to Devin Mathis, because they know what a good job he’s done at protecting their interests in Sacramento.”
Mathis recently drew criticism for referring to himself as a “Proud White Guy” on the Assembly floor.
Among those endorsing Drew’s campaign for Assembly:
- Tulare County Young Democrats
- Jose Sigala- Mayor, City of Tulare and 2018 Democratic Challenger for AD26
- Greg Gomez- Mayor, City of Farmersville and Vice-Chair of Tulare County Democratic Central Committee
- Jewel Hurtado- Councilwoman, City of Kingsburg
- Santos Garcia- Councilman, City of Madera
- Pat Hillman- Trustee, Tulare County Board of Education and community leader
- Senovia Gutierrez- Director and Secretary, Tulare Local Healthcare District
- Carlos Mendoza- President, Tulare Kings Hispanic Chamber of Commerce*, and ADEM Delegate
- Ken Nunes- Trustee, College of the Sequoias Board of Trustees
- Mike Jamaica- Vice President, Tulare Local Healthcare District
- Ira Porchia, Director of School Safety and Student Welfare, Tulare City School District*
- Bill Postlewaite- Superintendent, Tulare City School District* (ret.)
- John Beck- Superintendent, Tulare City School District* (ret.)
- Alex Gutierrez- Elected Central Committee Member, Tulare County Democratic Party
- Dr. Ron Smith, President Emeritus, Tulare Noon Rotary and local business leader
- Howard Broadman-Retired Judge, Tulare County Superior Court*
- Cameron Forgey- President and Co-Founder, Tulare County Young Democrats
- Daniel Sepulveda- Delegate, Assembly Democrats District 26 and community organizer
- Scot and Adrianne Hillman- Community leaders
- Lionel Pires- Owner, TF Tire & Service
- Dr. William Winn- Retired MD, community leader
- Wayne Hinman- Retired CPA, local business leader
Drew is a healthcare advocate, land use professional and 4th generation Tularean running to represent the 26th Assembly District. Beginning in 2015, Phelps led and organized residents of the district with Citizens for Hospital Accountability, whose members worked tirelessly to save the Tulare Regional Medical Center, which was dealing with significant financial, legal, and leadership issues. As a result of the 2-year long campaign, Citizens for Hospital Accountability succeeded in defeating a bond measure that would have cost the county millions, recalling a board member who had been seated for over 20 years, and ultimately, replacing all 5 board members to ensure a fresh start for the Tulare Regional Medical Center.
Previously, Phelps served as the Director of Grant Oversight with the Manuel Torrez Family Resource Center, bringing in funding for the Center’s “Healthy Families, Happy Kids” initiative, as well as helping organize the program’s annual mobile health clinic and fair. Professionally, Phelps works in land use and project management for Granville Homes, a Valley-based residential development company that builds homes for local working and middle-class families, including multi-family infill projects. Drew is a lifelong Democrat, and has worked across the aisle in the offices of former Assembly Minority Leader Connie Conway, former Senator Andy Vidak, and Congressman Jim Costa. Drew earned his B.A. in Political Studies from Pitzer College and his M.A. in American Politics from Claremont Graduate University.
In announcing his campaign for State Assembly District 26, Phelps released the following statement:
“I’m running because, simply put, we deserve better. We deserve solutions that are tailored to Valley interests and we need them soon.” Phelps stated. “Without immediate leadership on local issues such as water quality and quantity, healthcare access and economic opportunity right here in our community — our family and neighbors in the 26th Assembly District will struggle to achieve their full potential. The campaign we are building offers an alternative — new ideas focused on our district and proven experience to get things done.”