If Andrew Janz wants to pull off the political upset the nation talks about for months, he needs to do one thing — and one thing only — before the Nov. 6 election.
Talk to Republicans in CA-22.
Janz and President Trump (what a combo!) have already energized Democrats in Rep. Devin Nunes’ district. It’s virtually guaranteed that Democrats will run to the ballot box to send the Fresno County prosecutor to Congress and thumb their noses at the president.
But that won’t be enough to retire Nunes from the House of Representatives after eight terms. Not even close.
The district is a Republican stronghold, and no party preference voters (what used to be called “independents”) long have supported Nunes by a large margin.
Staunch Republicans, of course, will stick with Nunes.
One, he’s their guy. Someone they can count on to challenge liberals, ridicule environmentalist and defend Trump.
Two, there’s an “R” next to Nunes’ name. Old habits die hard, if they die at all.
Some Republican Votes Are Up for Grabs
But there are also Republicans who might be convinced to roll the dice on someone from the other party.
These include Republicans who are embarrassed by Trump’s antics — the polls suggest they are plenty of them right now.
They could be farmers (along with their employees) who take stock and calculate that for all of Nunes’ foot-stomping and yelling, he hasn’t really delivered for them.
Or they could be business owners who remember Nunes as the free-trade warrior who once hated tariffs but now genuflects to Trump while the president ignites international trade wars in which everybody loses.
Janz Must Convince GOP Voters He’s a Viable Option
To win over these Republicans and conservative-leaning independents, Janz must demonstrate that he doesn’t bite, he’s not a loony tunes liberal and he won’t disappear into the DC swamp.
This kind of convincing can’t be accomplished with slick, poll-designed television ads.
It requires shaking hands, looking people squarely in the eyes and answering tough questions.
The experts, of course, say that you can’t win a congressional seat this way: The area is too big and there are too many voters.
There’s some truth to that. But Janz needs to get Republicans who are open to a change talking about him as a viable option. If he can win their trust, they will influence others. The impossible becomes possible.
Nunes Is Busy Trying to Hold the House for Republicans
It helps Janz that Nunes is virtually invisible in the district — other than campaign commercials and chats with his radio buddy Ray Appleton.
Nunes’ absence can be explained by this: He believes the folks back home will to take care of him, just as they always have.
This no simple election for Nunes. He’s doing everything humanly possible to keep Republicans in control of the House while gambling he can swat down the Democratic pest in his district with minimal effort.
In addition, Nunes has bigger fish to fry.
He is pouring his heart and soul into Republicans holding their House majority. If Democrats take control, he loses the chairmanship of the House Intelligence Committee and the power of being in the ruling party.
This is why he’s flying all over the country and holding private fundraisers for GOP candidates. This is why he’s running ads whipping up support to repeal California’s gas-tax hike.
Thus, this no simple election for Nunes. He’s doing everything humanly possible to keep Republicans in control of the House while gambling he can swat down the Democratic pest in his district with minimal effort.
No More MSNBC, No More Anti-Nunes Tweets
For Janz to win, the path to victory should be clear.
No more MSNBC. Not even if Lawrence O’Donnell calls.
No more tweets ridiculing Nunes.
In their place: a 100% focus on winning over Republicans.
Tonight, he’s at the Tulare County Fair.
That’s a good place to start.