President Donald Trump’s Mini-Me in California’s Central Valley, Republican Rep. Devin Nunes, will be going back to Congress for a 10th term in January. Voters in California’s 22nd District reelected Nunes over Democratic challenger Phil Arballo, according to the Associated Press and the Modesto Bee.
Over the past four years, Nunes has built a reputation as a bombastic sycophant of the president, using his position as chair of the House Intelligence Committee in 2017 and 2018 to lead the Republican response to investigations into Trump’s ties to Russia. The “Nunes Memo” released in 2018 questioned the justification for FBI surveillance of a former Trump campaign advisor, angering Democrats who claimed it was released solely to undermine Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
That year, Nunes faced his first serious challenge from Andrew Janz, who took aim at Nunes’ lack of attention to voters in his district. Nunes defeated Janz’ bid by 5 points largely by excoriating the media, including the Fresno Bee, which had supported him in every previous reelection campaign but turned against him over his Trump-Russia antics. Since his 2018 win, Nunes has filed at least seven lawsuits against media organizations, politicos, and online critics including anonymous parody Twitter accounts known as Devin Nunes’ Cow and Devin Nunes’ Mom. None of his suits have been particularly successful.
This year, Arballo made many of the same arguments as Janz while emphasizing issues like health care access and COVID-19. Meanwhile, Nunes doubled down on Trumpism, demonizing Arballo and other Democrats as socialists, claiming that conservatives are under attack from the so-called Deep State, and pushing rumors about Hunter Biden. He remained one of the Republican Party’s strongest House fundraisers, pulling in over $10 million for his reelection, including $200,000 raised in the two days after he announced a lawsuit against the Washington Post in March.
Like Janz, Arballo didn’t do badly; he got nearly 47 percent of the vote. But Nunes isn’t going anywhere soon. And neither, it seems, are the trolls who made him have a cow:
Devin’s district is one of the reddest in the country. He should have won easily, significant double digits. The district is set to be redrawn. Both @PhilArballo2020 and @JanzAndrew came close.
I’m not going away. I hope you don’t either🐮#CA22 #PresidentBiden https://t.co/W9XoSvT3dI
— Devin Nunes’ cow 🐮 (@DevinCow) November 4, 2020