Katcho Achadjian

Katcho Achadjian (born June 2, 1951) is an Armenian-American politician who formerly served in the California State Assembly. He is a Republican who represented the 35th district, encompassing San Luis Obispo County and part of Santa Barbara County. He previously represented the 33rd district, and prior to being elected to the State Assembly, was also a member of the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors. In 2016, he ran for the United States House of Representatives from the 24th district, but he was defeated in the primary election.

Katcho Achadjian
Member of the California State Assembly
from the 35th district
33rd district (2010–2012)
In office
December 6, 2010  November 30, 2016
Preceded bySam Blakeslee
Succeeded byJordan Cunningham
Member of the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors from the 4th District[1][2]
In office
December 7, 1998  December 6, 2010
Succeeded byPaul Teixeira
Personal details
Born (1951-06-02) June 2, 1951
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Araxie Achadjian
ResidenceArroyo Grande, California
Alma materCal Poly San Luis Obispo
ProfessionBusiness owner

Early life, education, and Board of Supervisors

Achadjian was born in Jalala, Lebanon, to Armenian parents, immigrating to the United States in 1971 and becoming a US citizen in 1982. He first attended the Armenian Evangelical Elementary School in Jalala and, later, secondary school in Anjar.[4] Afterwards, he studied in Cuesta College before graduating from Cal Poly with a Business Administration degree. He and his wife Araxie were married in 1984.[5] In 1978, he purchased a small business that expanded into multiple stores and gas stations throughout San Luis Obispo County.[6]

Achadjian was first elected to the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors in 1998, serving until his election to the Assembly in 2010. He served as Chairman of the Board in 2001 and 2006.[6]

California Assembly

In 2010, Achadjian first ran as the Republican nominee for the California State Assembly, in the 33rd district. He won 58% of the popular vote against Democrat Hilda Zacarias.

By 2012, the district was redrawn into the 35th district. In the primary, Achadjian won 65% of the vote against Democrat Gerald Manata's 35%. In the general election, Achadjian won 61% to Manata's 39%.

Achadjian ran for a third term in 2014, winning 65% of the vote yet again in the primary, against the 35% of Democrat Heidi Harmon. In the general, Achadjian increased his performance slightly over his 2012 result, with 63% of the vote to Harman's 37%.

Throughout his time in the Assembly, Achadjian's voting record received perfect scores from such groups as the California Chamber of Commerce, the California Taxpayers Association, the National Federation of Independent Business, and the California Small Business Association.[7]

Committee assignments

  • Assembly Committee on Banking and Finance
  • Assembly Committee on Jobs, Economic Development, and the Economy
  • Assembly Committee on Veterans Affairs
  • Assembly Joint Committee on Fairs, Allocations, and Classification
  • Assembly Joint Committee on Fisheries and Antiquities
  • Assembly Joint Legislative Audit[8]

2016 congressional bid

In 2015, Achadjian announced his intention to run for the United States House of Representatives, from California's 24th congressional district, in the 2016 elections.[9] The district's longtime incumbent, Democrat Lois Capps, had previously announced that she would not seek reelection.[10] As a result, the field was significantly larger than in the past; Achadjian's competition included two other Republicans (both of whom, Justin Fareed and Matt Kokkonen, are former candidates for the same district in previous years), two independent candidates (including another former candidate, Steve Isakson), and four Democrats (including Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider and Santa Barbara County Supervisor Salud Carbajal). Achadjian received endorsements from many prominent Republicans in the region, including Santa Barbara City Councilmen Frank Hotchkiss and Dale Francisco (the latter of whom was also Santa Barbara County Republican Chair, and had previously run for the same district in 2014), and former actor Christopher Mitchum, the previous Republican nominee for the seat who lost to Capps in 2014.[9]

In the lead-up to the primary on June 7, Achadjian raised roughly $750,000 in the congressional race.[11] Although he was only the fourth-highest fundraiser in the race, he was generally considered to be the primary frontrunner due to arguably having more name recognition among voters than any other candidate, from either party. Polls released both by his own campaign and the Schneider campaign predicted that Achadjian would come in first in the open primary.[12] However, despite this, he came in a narrow third with 27,545 (18.9%) total votes, only 1.6% behind Justin Fareed, who finished a distant second to Carbajal. Fareed went on to lose the general election to Carbajal.

Electoral history

California's 33rd State Assembly district election, 2010
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Katcho Achadjian 84,629 57.8
Democratic Hilda Zacarias 54,817 37.4
Libertarian Paul K. Polson 7,051 4.8
Total votes 146,497 100.0
Republican hold
California's 35th State Assembly district election, 2012
Primary election
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Katcho Achadjian (incumbent) 62,747 64.9
Democratic Gerald "Gerry" Manata 33,862 35.1
Total votes 96,609 100.0
General election
Republican Katcho Achadjian (incumbent) 103,762 61.3
Democratic Gerald "Gerry" Manata 65,500 38.7
Total votes 169,262 100.0
Republican hold
California's 35th State Assembly district election, 2014
Primary election
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Katcho Achadjian (incumbent) 54,615 65.3
Democratic Heidi Harmon 29,030 34.7
Total votes 83,645 100.0
General election
Republican Katcho Achadjian (incumbent) 77,452 62.7
Democratic Heidi Harmon 46,126 37.3
Total votes 123,578 100.0
Republican hold
California's 24th congressional district election, 2016
Primary election
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Salud Carbajal 47,618 32.7
Republican Justin Donald Fareed 29,902 20.5
Republican Katcho Achadjian 27,545 18.9
Democratic Helene Schneider 20,992 14.4
Democratic William "Bill" Ostrander 8,048 5.5
Republican Matt T. Kokkonen 7,779 5.3
No party preference Steve Isakson 1,444 1.0
No party preference John Uebersax 1,330 0.9
Democratic Benjamin Lucas 1,103 0.7
Total votes 145,671 100.0
General election
Democratic Salud Carbajal 166,034 53.4
Republican Justin Fareed 144,780 46.6
Total votes 310,814 100.0


  1. California Secretary of State. "Vote totals, election outcomes and text for county ballot measures" (PDF). State of California. Retrieved August 4, 2011.
  2. California Secretary of State. "California Roster 2006" (PDF). State of California. Retrieved August 4, 2011.
  3. http://www.joincalifornia.com/candidate/13744
  4. Achadjian, Nyri (2019-01-04). "My Father's Story: The Life of California State Assemblyman, Khatcho Achadjian". HOME Magazine. Retrieved 2019-12-10.
  5. "San Diego Armenians Unite To Support Katcho Achadjian for Congress". Armenian National Committee of America. 2016-03-29. Retrieved 2019-12-10.
  6. "Biography". Assemblymember Katcho Achadjian. Retrieved June 5, 2016.
  7. "Awards and Recognition". Assemblymember Katcho Achadjian. Retrieved June 5, 2016.
  8. "Committees". Assemblymember Katcho Achadjian. Retrieved June 5, 2016.
  9. Kelsey Brugger (April 18, 2015). "Katcho Achadjian Announces Congress Bid". Santa Barbara Independent. Retrieved May 1, 2016.
  10. Hulse, Carl (April 8, 2015). "Representative Lois Capps Announces Retirement". The New York Times.
  11. "Fareed on the Hot Seat over Campaign Finances". Santa Barbara Independent. Retrieved June 5, 2016.
  12. "Celebrity donors pour money into this open California congressional seat". LA Times. Retrieved June 5, 2016.
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