Political Notebook

Speaker Paul Ryan, Benghazi committee head Gowdy coming to Valley

House Benghazi Committee Chairman Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., at a June 2016 news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington.
House Benghazi Committee Chairman Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., at a June 2016 news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. Associated Press file

Central San Joaquin Valley Republican congressmen Devin Nunes and David Valadao are bringing some of their high-powered Washington colleagues here this month to help dig into the wallets of local donors.

It only seems like they’re teaming up because of the timing of their respective events.

House Speaker Paul Ryan will be the guest of honor at an Oct. 27 Valadao fundraiser in Fowler. The Hanford Republican is charging donors $1,000 for dinner, and $2,700 gets that plus entry to a VIP reception and a photo with Ryan, the Wisconsin Republican.

As with the Tulare fundraiser for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, the location of the event will only be revealed when an attendee submits an RSVP. In tiny Fowler, however, there’s only a few places it could be.

Nunes is going for a two-fer, and his special guest is Rep. Trey Gowdy, the South Carolina Republican who became a darling of the right for his work as chairman of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, which has been investigating the 2012 terrorist attacks in Libya that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.

Gowdy and other Republicans on the panel accuse the Obama administration of stonewalling important documents and witnesses but Democrats say the panel’s primary goal is to undermine the presidential candidacy of Hillary Clinton, who was secretary of state during the attacks.

It starts with an evening event at a private residence in Visalia on Oct. 26, and then is followed by a breakfast event the following day – the same day as the Valadao event – at Harris Construction in Fresno.

The Harris Construction event is hosted by Richard Spencer and his wife, Karen, who earlier this year hosted House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield.

The event is $250 for a couple and $2,700 per couple for the VIP reception, which includes a photo.

Valadao is in a competitive congressional district where opposition Democrats hold a 17-percentage point voter registration advantage, though he has easily dispatched his opponents in 2012 and 2014.

Nunes, on the other hand, isn’t. Republicans outnumber Democrats in his district and he has never had a competitive race since first being elected in 2002. That means he will be able to spend his cash haul pretty much as he pleases, including giving to other Republicans.

Associated Press contributed to this report. John Ellis: 559-441-6320, @johnellis24

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