By Gabriel Monte: CNJ staff writer
The list of Clovis’ mayoral candidates swelled to six on Tuesday as a retired restaurant owner and city newcomer joined four candidates who announced last month.
Rudy Kumar, a respiratory therapist who moved to Clovis just a few days ago from California, and Mario Martinez, a longtime Clovis resident, were the surprise candidates who filed for the position on Tuesday. Tim Ashley, Gayla Brumfield, Rube Render and Gloria Wicker had announced their plans last month to seek the mayor’s seat.
Clovis voters will decide whom they want to replace three-term Mayor David Lansford in the March 4 municipal elections. Lansford announced in November he would not seek re-election.
Also Tuesday, all four City Commission seats up for election drew two candidates.
Martinez, who’s lived in Clovis for 53 years, said he considers the city his house and will work to keep it clean if he’s elected mayor.
“I don’t want to be the mayor that takes pictures and has a couple of announcements here and there. I want to be the working mayor. I want to work for (city residents),” he said. “I don’t have a special interest in any other business. I want to be the house cleaner.”
Martinez has not held an elected office, but said he ran for magistrate judge in the 1980s.
Kumar said he’s not held an elected position either, but said his experience as an entrepreneur qualifies him for mayor.
Kumar said he moved to Clovis in December with plans to work as a respiratory therapist. He said he decided to run for mayor after residents told him they were not satisfied with the candidates.
“I’m the new person in town, and by being new, I haven’t been contaminated or influenced by special-interest groups,” he said.
The other mayor candidates are well known in the community.
• County Commission Chairman Tim Ashley said he wants to promote a better working relationship between the city and county.
• Clovis Realtor Gayla Brumfield said her priorities include economic development, quality of life, infrastructure improvements and downtown revitalization.
• Curry County Republican Party Chairman Rube Render said the city will need someone who understands the military to move the city forward as the base adjusts to its new mission. Render served in the Marines for 20 years and for 10 years he worked on defense contracts with the Air Force.
• Former City Commissioner Gloria Wicker said her platform includes cleaning up the four entrances into Clovis and restoring Hotel Clovis.
In City Commission races, business owner Rosalie Riley is running against incumbent Randal Crowder in District 1.
Ben McDaniel is running against incumbent Fred Van Soelen in District 2.
UPS driver Fidel Madrid is running against incumbent Robert Sandoval in District 3.
Clovis Municipal Schools’ federal programs director David Briseno is running against Foxy Drive-In owner Chris Bryant in the District 4 race. Incumbent Lunell Winton is not seeking re-election.