For the first time in 16 years, The Fresno Bee is endorsing someone other than Republican incumbent Rep. Devin Nunes in the California district’s congressional race.
“Today The Fresno Bee takes a step it has not made since before 2002: It is recommending a candidate for the 22nd congressional district who is not Devin Nunes,” the editorial board wrote in a fiery editorial on Saturday.
The Bee announced its support for Nunes’ Democratic challenger, political newcomer Andrew Janz. According to the paper’s editorial board, Janz, who is a Fresno prosecutor, “offers the best chance” for representing the district and for bringing bipartisanship to Washington, D.C.
The Bee praised Janz’s status as an underdog operating outside the Democratic establishment, noting the 34-year-old moderate “can act with a degree of independence from party politics and do what he thinks is best for the 22nd District.” Janz has raised more money than any of Nunes’ previous Democratic challengers, KQED and Mother Jones reported.
Nunes has been at odds with his hometown paper, which his campaign called “a textbook example of fake news” after the paper disclosed his longtime investment in a winery that was sued in 2016 for a cocaine and prostitute-filled yacht party.
Tensions escalated this week after his campaign sent out a nearly 40-page mailer to constituents trying to discredit the paper.
The cover featured an illustration of drunk, Kool-Aid-drinking bees on a capsizing ship sinking into a sea littered with socialist propaganda.
The paper, which said Nunes declined to be interviewed, also slammed his partisan record on protecting President Donald Trump from the Russia investigation and his vote on health care that would have limited Medicaid.
In contrast, The Bee praised Jantz’s stance on gun control as a gun owner, his support for covering pre-existing conditions, and his focus on finding a solution for the Central Valley’s increasing water problems.
Nunes and The Fresno Bee did not immediately respond to requests for comment.