ELECTION 2018
Tacherra says he’s the best GOP chance for District 12

By JONATHAN WHITAKER
April 12, 2018

Republican farmer Johnny Tacherra believes he has a very good shot and a fighting chance to become the next California State Senator for District 12 — a seat that includes all of Merced County, and stretches across five other counties from Fresno to Monterrey to Stanislaus.

Tacherra points to strong support, established trust, and high name recognition in the Central Valley, mainly due to previous election battles against U.S. Congressman Jim Costa.

The 41-year-old dairyman from the rural community of Burrel is also known for his tenacity on the campaign trail, creating local community ties, and even attracting Democrats to cross over to his side. These are traits that led him to a near upset of Costa in 2014.

Not to mention, Tacherra can appeal to this region’s conservative base.

“There are so many regulations and taxes coming out of the State Capitol that are just killing us,” Tacherra told the Times. “They don’t think there are any consequences for their actions, and a lot of times they are not being held accountable. I believe people in the valley will sleep better at night knowing that I’m their state senator, and I’m not going to be in Sacramento trying to raise their taxes or take away their way of life for their kids and their families.”

With Ceres Republican Anthony Cannella being termed out, four candidates have emerged in the 2018 race, including Tacherra, Salinas Democrat Anna Caballero, Madera County Supervisor and Republican Rob Poythress, and Fowler Mayor Pro-Tem and Democrat Daniel Parra.

They are all headed toward the June 5 Primary Election Day. The two contenders with the most votes in that election, regardless of party affiliation, will advance to a showdown in November.

The rest go home.

Tacherra is feeling good that he will be among the top two candidates, probably along with Caballero, a current State Assembly member with a lot of experience in political office, and substantial campaign funds.

The candidate expects to do much better than Poythress, who he says is supported by the same people that supported Dave Rogers in the 2016 Congressional primary.

“I slaughtered Dave Rogers in that election,” Tacherra touted. “It was like 3 to 1 in his hometown of Chowchilla. … Now we are hearing the same thing from people in Madera. They say Rob is a nice guy, but he should stay a supervisor. He just got in that position. Plus, he is too much of a ‘yes’ person, and we need someone to stand up for us.”

With regard to Caballero, Tacherra also feels good about the idea that the 12th Senate District seat has been held by a Republican for the past 18 years.

“They want to take this seat, and it’s easy for them to raise money, let me tell you,” he said. “It’s going to be the same thing like it was with Costa. They are going to have all the money at their disposal, but who is going to work the hardest for it? … I need to have more hours in my day to meet as many voters that I can … A face-to-face with a candidate always trumps money — that’s what I realize. … Money doesn’t buy votes.”

Tacherra says he doesn’t know Caballero all that well, but they did share a speaking engagement with a Teamsters group once in Salinas.

“She is very left wing,” he commented. “People told me if she was any more left, she would be out in the ocean. … She’s big on gun control, and that was a big turn off with a lot of people that night.”

Voting for a “Democrat over the hill” will not be attractive to Merced voters, Tacherra mentions. “People here trust me, and I trust them. Merced is going to be my biggest selling point for me to win this election.”

To get an idea of what Tacherra will be like as a state senator, consider his stance on the recent gas tax that was narrowly approved with key votes by Senator Cannella and Assemblyman Adam Gray.

“I would have been a ‘NO’ vote, and it would have never been put on the governor’s desk. … I’m for small business, middle income people and those who are struggling to make ends meet. We need someone to stand up hard-working residents, and I’m that person.”

Tacherra supports a complete overhaul of the state tax code, and moves to protect local water systems from special interests “who believe they can steal our water and send it to Los Angeles and San Francisco.”

He adds that he can work with Assemblyman Gray as an ally to achieve more local water control.

As far as endorsements, Tacherra has the backing of both Merced and San Benito County Republican Committees.

“With his ability to connect with voters in every corner of the district, Johnny Tacherra is the clear choice for State Senate District 12,” said Merced County Republican Chairman and Atwater Councilman Brian Raymond.

Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke and Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims also endorse Tacherra.

Said Warnke, “Johnny’s hard working, common sense approach to problem solving is exactly what we need up in Sacramento. I know I can count on Johnny Tacherra to stand up for public safety and oppose such disastrous ideas like AB109 and Prop. 57, which have been shown to be total failures and have only made our streets and neighborhoods less safe.”

Tacherra is a third-generation dairy farmer and small business owner in Fresno County. His family includes his wife Lisa, and four children. He has served on the Oak Grove Veterans Memorial Board, the California Dairy Campaign Board and as Secretary of the California Farmers Union.

He wants to thank Merced County voters for their support over the years, and he says he will work hard to maintain their trust.


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