At the tender age of 28, Tulare Republican Devin Nunes was elected to Congress.
Since then, he's easily dispatched a string of Democrats and, occasionally, a third-party candidate. He never has won less than 61% of the vote.
Twelve years later, it appears to be more of the same for Nunes in the 22nd Congressional District, which is centered on Tulare and Fresno counties. His challenger is Tulare Democrat Suzanna "Sam" Aguilera-Marrero, who retired last year as a captain from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Nunes finished first in the June primary, winning two-thirds of the vote. Aguilera-Marrero beat Republican John Catano to finish second and earn a November showdown with Nunes.
She's in a tough position.
Republicans enjoy a voter-registration advantage of close to 13 percentage points, and Nunes has more than $2.25 million in his campaign account, ready in case it is needed.
He plans to put up signs and send out some campaign mail. But nothing else is in the works at this time. No television commercials or radio ads are planned.
Two years ago, Nunes' opponent Otto Lee raised nearly $400,000 -- including $30,000 in loans to himself -- in taking on Nunes. But not even that was enough to get Nunes to spend money on TV or radio ads.
This year, Aguilera-Marrero had raised $10,000 through June 30. Of that, a little more than $6,000 is loans to herself. The rest are contributions.
She didn't return phone calls seeking comment, but her website highlights immigration reform, safe drinking water and education as district issues.
On water, the website says she would "work to support legislation that would give tax credits to businesses and residents that responsibly conserve water. I will also work to ensure federal funding for states to construct more efficient water infrastructure for both storage and transportation."
Her immigration position supports a pathway to citizenship for those already in the country illegally.
In addition, her Facebook page looks to support Second Amendment gun rights.
Born and raised in Porterville, Aguilera-Marrero now lives in Tulare.
As for Nunes, he's keeping an eye on his race while he hopes to win the coveted post of House intelligence committee chairman. It's not something he can campaign for since it is not a committee vote. It is the call of the House speaker, currently John Boehner.
As always, the top local issue is water, and Nunes said "we're closer now than we've ever been" on some major legislation that could include new reservoirs.
He is also is a member of the influential House Ways and Means Committee, where he chairs the trade subcommittee and is also on the health subcommittee.
"We can't consume everything we grow in the nation, so we have to have exports," Nunes said. "They are vital to jobs and economy in the Valley."
His third top priority is national security -- especially now that he is an intelligence committee member.
Beyond that, it is constituent service. Nothing flashy, Nunes said.
"We don't issue press releases," he said. "We don't do victory laps. We just try and get the job done."
Congressional District 22
SUZANNA 'SAM' AGUILERA-MARRERO
• Age: 52
• Hometown: Tulare
• Occupation: Retired captain from California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
• Education: n/a
• Family: n/a
• Party preference: Democratic
• Twitter: @sam4cd22
• Age: 40
• Hometown: Tulare
• Occupation: Congressman
• Education: California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo, bachelor's 1995
• Family: Married, three children
• Party preference: Republican
• Twitter: @devinnunes