Political Notebook

Candidate denies fellow Nunes challenger Janz's claims of support

Brian Carroll

A candidate in the wild primary race to unseat high-profile Republican Rep. Devin Nunes said Wednesday that he will not support top challenger Andrew Janz due to his position on abortion and other issues.

Brian Carroll, a 68-year-old teacher from Visalia, ran against Nunes as a no-party preference candidate. He received about 1.3 percent of the vote. Janz appears headed to the runoff with about 32 percent of the vote, but not all counties within the district have certified their election results.

Carroll made it clear Wednesday that, while he congratulates Janz on making it to November, he will not be supporting Janz or Nunes in any way.

“I will continue to criticize either candidate as I see fit,” Carroll said.

On Friday, Janz said Carroll was the only person among his four fellow candidates to call him, congratulate him and offer help in his bid to unseat Nunes.

Carroll rebuffed this claim, saying the call Janz is referring to took place between Janz and about 10 members of South Valley Civics, a group that protests outside of Nunes’ Visalia office every Tuesday.

Carroll was in the room when the call took place, he said, but he was not part of the group that congratulated and offered support to Janz. He added that no one in South Valley Civics was authorized to speak on his behalf.

Janz offered this response Wednesday: “Brian Carroll and I spoke (Tuesday) afternoon, and I look forward to working with him to unseat Devin Nunes.”

He added that he "appreciates” Carroll’s message of congratulations. When asked about "working with" Carroll despite Carroll's claims, Janz stuck to his original statement.

Carroll said his reasons for not supporting Janz further have to do with the candidate’s “centrist Democrat” positions.

Carroll is trying to bring the American Solidarity Party to the central San Joaquin Valley, he said. According to Carroll, part of this party’s belief structure involves being rigorously pro-life – that is, anti-abortion but also against what Carroll categorized as Republican positions of stripping health care from citizens and damaging the environment.

“We are more pro-life than Republicans, but we can’t support Democrats who are pro-abortion,” Carroll said.

Carroll said the party aligns pretty closely with progressive Democrats on issues such as healthcare, family separations at the U.S.-Mexico border, climate change and protection for DACA recipients.

“We are more progressive on these issues than many centrist Democrats like Janz,” he added.

Carroll said he may run again for the seat in 2020, regardless of who wins.