Kern County supervisor candidate Roy Ashburn received a major campaign boost Thursday when a phalanx of powerhouse political figures -- including former Congressman Bill Thomas -- endorsed him at a press conference Thursday.

Thomas, maybe the most powerful politician in Kern County history, was joined at the event by outgoing 1st District Supervisor Jon McQuiston; former Bakersfield Mayor and Supervisor Mary K. Shell; current Bakersfield City Councilman and Supervisor-elect David Couch; and former Supervisors Barbara Patrick and Steve Perez.

Although he's retired from Congress, Thomas noted that he occasionally goes before TV cameras to comment on issues of the day.

"There comes a time in certain races when you have to do more than talk back to a television camera," Thomas said during the event held at the Bell Tower Club in downtown Bakersfield. "I'm here to support Roy Ashburn for 1st District supervisor."

Ashburn is running against political newcomer Mick Gleason, former commanding officer at China Lake Naval Air Weapon Station. Ashburn has spent most of his adult life in politics, serving as 1st District supervisor and then in the state Assembly and Senate.