Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), who has been one of President Donald Trump’s most eager and vocal supporters over the past four years, is now facing the same fate that could await the incumbent president: Removal from office by voters in his district who say they’re fed up with his showboating and failure to adequately represent the district.
Andrew Gumbel of The Guardian recently spoke with some of Nunes’ constituents in the 22nd District, and what they had to say suggests that the congressman may be swept away in the growing Democratic blue wave which is sweeping the country.
For example, Paul Buxman, a farmer who owns an organic fruit farm in the central valley of California, said he was enthusiastic about Nunes when he was first elected in the early 2000s:
“I thought, this is the first farmer we’ve had as a congressman who’s come out to visit a farm.”
However, it turned out that Nunes was only there for a selfish reason: “It was was a photo op,” Buxman recalls.
Two years ago, a well-financed Democratic contender, Andrew Janz, came close to beating Nunes, losing by only five points to the incumbent. And now another challenger hopes to remove Nunes from the seat he’s held since 2004:
“Small business owner and civic activist Phil Arballo could come closer still with a campaign that has focused predominantly on the local issues that many constituents accuse Nunes of ignoring.”
Helping Arballo as he faces off with Nunes is the changing demographic makeup of the 22nd District:
“Arballo’s coalition is built on two pillars: the changing demographics of the area, which is now almost 50% Latino, and disaffection with Nunes. As Nunes has focused his energies largely on Washington’s toxic political culture and made himself less visible in his district, that disaffection has only grown.”
Arballao makes it clear that he believes Nunes has completely lost touch with the people he’s supposed to be representing:
“Instead of holding himself accountable and reassuring people they’re going to be protected, instead of pushing for stimulus money and PPE in response to the coronavirus, he’s on Fox News talking about Hillary Clinton. He’s in a different world. He has no plans for the future. He believes he’s entitled to this seat and takes every voter for granted.”
Nunes, it should be noted, has not held a meeting with his constituents in at least 10 years. Instead, he’s been busy writing and publishing a 95-page manifesto entitled “Countdown to Socialism” in which he argues that Democrats “sympathize with the rioters and statue-topplers, they’re ashamed of their nation and their history, they believe their fellow countrymen are irredeemably racist and, most important, they want to ‘transform’ our country into something different.”
That long-winded manifesto didn’t sit well with Amy Aragon and her husband, who turned against Nunes when he began verbally attacking protesters in Minneapolis demanding justice for the death of George Floyd at the hands of police:
“When we saw the hatred they were spewing, we couldn’t stand it any more. We walked into Democratic party headquarters in downtown Fresno and asked for an Arballo sign … Then we asked if there was a way to get involved.”
The Aragons, along with Paul Buxman, are part of a growing group of residents in the 22nd District who say it’s time for Nunes to be retired from Congress at the ballot box. As Buxman notes:
“The way I see it, the best thing that could happen to him is that he lose the election. For his own sake.”
Featured Image Via CNN