Rep. Devin Nunes is getting a lot of criticism these days.
The California Republican, who chairs the House intelligence committee, released a controversial memo on Friday alleging that the FBI abused its surveillance powers as the bureau investigated the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russia. In the weeks leading up to the release, Trump’s Department of Justice warned that making the memo public would be “extraordinarily reckless.” The FBI, now under the leadership of Trump appointee Christopher Wray, said it had “grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy.” Nunes’ hometown newspaper blasted his behavior in an editorial, referring to the congressman as “Trump’s stooge.” And Democrats on the intel. committee claimed the memo deliberately distorted classified information in an effort to discredit the ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. (It took my colleague David Corn all of a few minutes Friday to find the first error in the memo.)
And now Andrew Janz, a prosecutor who is running for the Democratic nomination to challenge Nunes in November, is turning the memo into a campaign issue. On Thursday, Janz released a brutal new ad targeting Nunes’ involvement in the matter.
— Andrew Janz (@JanzforCongress) February 2, 2018
Nunes’ Central Valley district has, in recent decades, been a GOP stronghold. In the past three general elections, Nunes received between 62 percent and 72 percent of the vote. But with Nunes emerging as one of Trump’s most argent defenders in Congress, Democrats are hoping to make inroads. A recent poll released by Janz’s campaign found that in a hypothetical matchup between Nunes and a “Democratic opponent,” Nunes received just 50 percent of the vote; the generic Democrat received 45 percent. Nunes “is in real danger here in
#CA22,” Janz recently tweeted.
“If you had asked me six months ago if it was possible to get rid of him, I would have said, ‘No,’” says Tom Chamberlain of the Visalia Democratic Club in Nunes’ district. “But now—so much has happened. People are getting fired up. We’ve been getting calls from people up and down the state asking how they can defeat Devin Nunes. I’ve been here since 2012, and I’ve never seen that.”