Politics & Government

Where’s Nunes? Billboard slams GOP congressman on town hall issue

A billboard in Visalia urges Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Tulare, to hold a town hall meeting.
A billboard in Visalia urges Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Tulare, to hold a town hall meeting.

“Devin Nunes, Hold a Town Hall, Let’s Talk About Russia.”

So states a new billboard in Visalia aimed at Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Tulare, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.

It is paid for by the Democratic Coalition Against Trump.

Republican members of Congress have largely avoided town hall meetings back in their home districts, and Nunes is among them.

In fact, he’s been quiet for weeks on several fronts, reports Michael Doyle of the McClatchy D.C. bureau.

“The California Republican’s last Twitter comment on any topic was posted in mid-March,” Doyle wrote. “He’s been absent from national TV. Once the public face of intelligence policy in the House of Representatives, Nunes has seemingly all but disappeared on the hottest topic of the day.”

In April, Nunes stepped away from the Intelligence committee’s probe of alleged Russian interference in the presidential election.

Nunes caused a furor when he told reporters that he had viewed classified information and learned that people associated with Trump had been observed by spy agencies during surveillance of foreign officials, and then briefed Trump.

Nunes was criticized for appearing to be too close to Trump to lead the Intelligence Committee’s investigation into the Russia probe.

Nunes’ actions made him a lightning rod. Locally, opponents held their own town hall meeting without him in Visalia, which Nunes blasted as the work of left-wing activists.

Nate Lerner, co-founder of the Democratic Coalition, said his group used email and social media to raise $2,500 in a matter of days to pay for the billboard. The average donation was $19, he said.

The billboard will be up for a month, he said.

It’s in the same city as Nunes’ 22nd Congressional District main office and is visible on westbound Highway 198 east of the Ben Maddox Way exit.

The Democratic Coalition’s mission is to get Democrats elected to Congress. Nunes’ district is 43 percent Republican to 33 percent Democratic in voter registration but Lerner said despite the numbers a Democrat could win in 2018 as voters cross party lines.

Nunes has one announced challenger to date, Andrew Janz, a Fresno County prosecutor.

Nunes’ campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

Lewis Griswold: 559-441-6104, @fb_LewGriswold