Political Notebook

Is Rep. Devin Nunes a farmer? Yes, judge rules

Rep. Devin Nunes is still a farmer.

That’s according to a decision made Wednesday by Sacramento Superior Court Judge Allen Sumner, who denied a writ of election filed earlier this month that alleged Nunes no longer farms and should not be allowed to call himself a farmer on California ballots.

The legal action was filed on behalf of Dinuba stone fruit farmer Paul Buxman, who claimed Nunes had not received any income from farming in at least 10 years. Hope Nisly, a writer and librarian from Reedley in Nunes’ district, also signed on, as did farming advocate Daniel O’Connell, who lives in Fresno Democrat Jim Costa’s district.

It’s unclear why Sumner denied the claim, as a full summary of the court proceedings was not yet publicly available, but other court documents obtained by The Bee confirmed the decision. Attorneys for Buxman, Nunes and Secretary of State Alex Padilla presented arguments prior to Sumner’s ruling.

Democratic super PAC Fight Back California organized and paid for the writ. The group also sent mailers throughout Nunes’ district inviting constituents “to fake farmer Devin Nunes’ day in court.” The mailers featured pictures of a cartoon cow and a cartoon farmer.

Previously, Fight Back California funded several billboards attacking Nunes on various issues along Highway 99.

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On Thursday, Fight Back California spokeswoman Robin Swanson said Sumner told the court he deferred to the Secretary of State’s office on the matter. Swanson said her side plans to appeal the decision.

The Bee has asked Nunes’ campaign if it would like to comment on the decision. This story will be updated should the campaign respond.

Rory Appleton: 559-441-6015, @RoryDoesPhonics
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