published on March 11, 2016 - 10:53 PM
Written by The Business Journal Staff

In a rematch of one of 2014’s biggest local political upsets, Woodlake Mayor Rudy Mendoza will once again challenge Assemblyman Devon Mathis for his seat in Tulare County’s Assembly District 26.

Mendoza, a Republican, officially entered the race when he pulled papers at the Tulare County elections office late Thursday.

Mendoza, who has served as a field representative for Congressman Devin Nunes for many years, was considered the heavy favorite the first time he faced off against Mathis in 2014 for the seat vacated by Connie Conway.

But the long time Tulare County political operative was defeated by newcomer Mathis, an Iraq war veteran, by a margin of 56 percent to 43 percent in a district that also includes rural sections of Kern and Inyo counties.

Mendoza, who also runs an ag consulting business, said he will take a leave of absence from his job with Congressman Nunes during the campaign.

“Ethically speaking, it’s the right thing to do,” he said.

Mimi Ruby, a Tulare County Realtor, will serve as Mendoza’s campaign manager.

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