Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Tulare, captured re-election in November by dominating rural and affluent areas while also earning just enough urban votes to stave off Democrat Andrew Janz, according to an interactive map crafted by The Fresno Bee.
The map breaks down every precinct in California’s 22nd Congressional District, which includes parts of Fresno and Tulare counties. Nunes defeated Janz by a little more than five percentage points: 117,243 votes to 105,136.
Although the map appears to paint a broad shade of red across most of the district, a closer look shows that Janz made gains in urban population hubs – particularly in regions with a lower average income.
In Fresno, for example, Nunes received more than 70 percent of the vote in the Van Ness extension area, while Janz pulled in 60-70 percent in the regions surrounding Fresno State and Fashion Fair shopping center.
Overall, the support of suburban north Fresno and Clovis appears to have been a major boon for Nunes. He picked up 914 votes to Janz’s 371 in precinct 332, a large area in the Copper Avenue and Auberry Road area, for example.
The rural areas in the eastern and southern parts of the district broke hard for Nunes, but they have much smaller voter totals. In precinct 499832, a rural area east of Orange Cove, Nunes won 64 votes to Janz’s 29.
Affluent and rural areas voting Republican are pretty typical of local, state and national races. However, a few interesting battlegrounds in Tulare County – long a Nunes stronghold – emerged.
The northern section of Visalia, just blocks from Nunes’ district office, was perhaps Janz’s best precinct. He received 735 votes to Nunes’ 214 – good for more than 77 percent. Although he lives and works in Fresno, Janz grew up in Visalia and campaigned hard in the area.
The southern sections voted for Nunes, but only by about 10-point margins save for the area near College of the Sequoias, where Nunes attended and later served as a school board member.
The candidates also split the city of Tulare, which was once firmly conservative. Janz captured about two-thirds of the vote in the western part of the city, whereas Nunes pulled in a big chunk in eastern Tulare, where he lives.
Reedley also seemed to be a battleground city, with the candidates splitting the total vote.
Towns with significant economic hardship, such as Orange Cove and Lindsay, heavily favored Janz.
Janz came closer than any previous Nunes challengers in a district that has always leaned hard to the right. Although Nunes will likely be favored in 2020, the possibility of Democrats targeting him given their recent successes in other targeted California districts coupled with the naturally higher turnout of a presidential election could make for an interesting race.