Ricky Gill, the Lodi Republican challenging Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Stockton, in the newly drawn 9th Congressional District, announced today that he’s been endorsed by the California Farm Bureau Federation.
“Ricky Gill has grown up in the Central Valley and has firsthand experience in small business, dealing with regulations and encouraging the expansion of trade to grow our economy and create local jobs,” California Farm Bureau President Paul Wenger said in Gill’s release. “His family’s roots in agriculture have guided his life’s path, and he will make the needs of farmers and ranchers a priority as he represents his district in Washington.”
Wenger said Gill will be “an energetic advocate for his constituents and will support policies to help turn our economy around, to provide jobs and business opportunities for the next generation.”
Gill, 25, is the son of immigrants who are physicians but also own a 1,000-acre cherry farm and vineyard, an RV park and other business interests; he finished his Cal law degree earlier this year. He said he’s honored by the Farm Bureau’s endorsement: “I look forward to standing up for our farmers and ranchers so they can create jobs right here in the 9th District, where my family has been farming for 30 years.”
The California Farm Bureau Federation protects agricultural interests for more than 74,000 members statewide.
Would McNerney liked to have had this endorsement? Certainly.
Was he likely to get it? Some Democrats have won the California Farm Bureau Federation’s nod, including Dianne Feinstein, Mike Thompson and Jim Costa, but McNerney’s votes haven’t been so popular.
Is he lost without it? No. The Farm Bureau can be a powerful Central Valley force, but the 9th District isn’t its very strongest province: Stockton, entirely within the district, is urban and firmly Democratic. In the 2001 bipartisan gerrymander of the Central Valley, as Democrats sought to make then-Rep. Gary Condit’s seat safe for any Democrat except the ag-popular but scandal-ridden Condit, it was accomplished by redrawing the district to include Stockton. Farming interests are powerful in the district, but not all-powerful.