SACRAMENTO, Calif. – California Trailblazers, a program successfully identifying, training and electing the next generation of Republican legislative leaders, announced today Justin Mendes (AD 32) has been elevated to ‘Rising Star’ status, the second level in the program’s three-tier structure. Mendes is the first Trailblazers candidate of the 2018 election cycle to achieve ‘Rising Star’ status.

“Trailblazers is pleased to name Justin Mendes as our first ‘Rising Star’ of the 2018 election cycle,” said Trailblazers CEO Jessica Patterson. “Mendes’ impressive primary election victory over the Democrat incumbent proves that the Valley communities of the 32nd Assembly District are ready for a leader who will fight for them while in Sacramento.”

In the June 5 election, Mendes received an impressive 51 percent of the vote, taking first place in the top-two primary against a two-term incumbent. Mendes will face the Democrat incumbent again in November in one of the most closely watched legislative races.

As a ‘Rising Star,’ Mendes has raised more than $250,000 in campaign contributions, without loans or personal money, created strong media, fundraising, coalition and finance plans, identified a campaign manager and participated in Trailblazers trainings.

Mendes has deep roots in the Valley, most recently serving as the Mayor of Hanford after first being elected to the Hanford City Council in 2014. Mendes also works as District Director for Congressman David Valadao. As a community leader, Mendes focused on strengthening public safety and facilitating local economic growth. The son of a third-generation dairy farmer, Mendes understands the value of hard work and the importance of protecting businesses.

“The Valley has been repeatedly left behind by Sacramento politicians committed to their own agendas,” Patterson said. “That will come to an end with Mendes because he understands the challenges everyday Californians face. We look forward to continue supporting him as he argues for the repeal of the gas tax and advocates for policies that fuel economic growth.”

Throughout 2018, California Trailblazers will continue to provide ongoing support to Republican legislative candidates. Candidates who seek to enter the third tier of the Trailblazers program—‘Trailblazer’ status—must raise more than $400,000 in campaign contributions, create strong media, fundraising, coalition and finance plans, identify a campaign manager and participate in Trailblazers trainings to learn fundamental and sophisticated campaign strategies and tactics.

About California Trailblazers      

California Trailblazers aims to recruit and train Republican candidates who reflect California’s diverse population. The program is modeled after the National Republican Congressional Committee’s successful Young Guns program. For more information, please visit and follow @CAtrailblazers.

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