Nunes Officially Exits Congress, Sticks Fresno County With Potential $1.3M Election Tab
Congressman Devin Nunes officially resigned from Congress on Saturday.
In his letter addressed to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, the Tulare Republican said he informed Gov. Gavin Newsom that he was leaving at the end of the day on Saturday.
“It has been the honor of my life to represent the people of California’s San Joaquin Valley for the last 19 years. Please let me know how I can be of help during this transition,” Nunes wrote.
Nunes announced last month he was leaving office to become CEO of former President Donald Trump’s new technology firm. He was first elected to Congress from the Central Valley in 2002.
Governor to Call for Special Election
Now that the resignation is official, Gov. Gavin Newsom has up to 14 days to call for a special election under the “old” 22nd Congressional District electoral lines.
The winner of the special election would remain in office until the end of the term on Jan. 3, 2023.
The election would take place on a Tuesday between 126 and 140 days from when the governor calls for the election. If Newsom calls for the election today, the earliest the special general election could be is May 10 (May 17 and 24 are other options; May 31 is not because it is a day after a state holiday, Memorial Day).
The primary would take place nine weeks prior — March 8, 15, or 22. Filing to run could take place this month.
If the top vote-getter in the primary receives a majority of votes, he or she would be declared the winner and a special general election would not be needed.
The governor has the option to consolidate the special general election with the regular general election on June 7. If that is the case, the primary would be April 5.
The current CD 22 includes parts of Fresno and Tulare counties, including Clovis, north Fresno, Visalia, and Tulare.
The new 22nd Congressional District lines includes parts of Kings, Tulare and Kern counties. Incumbent Congressman David Valadao, R-Hanford, is expected to run in the “new” CD 22. Electors at the June 7 primary will vote using the new lines.
$1.3 Million in Potential Election Costs for Fresno County
Fresno County Clerk James Kus estimates that holding a special general and primary election would cost $1.1 to $1.3 million. The costs would be borne by county txpayers.
“We do not anticipate any state reimbursement for the costs of conducting this special election,” Kus said.
Consolidating the special general election with the regular general election on June 7 could save around $500,000.
Tulare County would also be in the same scenario. About 62% of the registered voters in CD 22 are in Fresno County.
After this story first published, Tulare County Registrar of Voters Michelle Baldwin says a typical election costs “$800,000 or more.”
“We are hoping that the General Special Election will be consolidated with the June 7th Primary Election,” Baldwin said.
Related Story: After Nunes Bombshell, Who is Angling to Replace Congressman?
Election May Be Sooner
Recent history indicates the governor may not opt for consolidation.
When Assemblyman Ed Chau, D-Monterey Park, resigned, Newsom called for a special election on April 19, with a Feb. 15 primary. The timeline was within Newsom’s ability to consolidate with the June 7 election.
“The state strives to ensure Californians have representation as soon as possible when a special election is called for,” the governor’s office told GV Wire last month.
Newsom appointed Chau as a judge to the Los Angeles County Superior Court.