FRESNO COUNTY, Calif (KSEE) – Republican Representative Devin Nunes announced on Monday that he will be leaving Congress at the end of the year in order to become chief executive officer of Donald Trump’s new media and technology company.
In a letter to his constituents, Nunes wrote “recently, I was presented with a new opportunity to fight for the most important issues I believe in. I’m writing to let you know I’ve decided to pursue this opportunity, and therefore I will be leaving the House of Representatives at the end of 2021.”
It’s news that came as a shock to many.
“This came so out of the blue, I strongly suspect even a lot of other Republicans are trying to quickly figure out what they’re going to do,” Fresno State political science professor Thomas Holyoke said.
Nunes has served in the United States House of Representatives since 2003. He’s known for his campaign to fight for water and, most recently, his close ties with former President Donald Trump, who awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2019. Now, a vacant seat in the house opens up as Republicans look to regain control in the 2022 midterm elections, and California’s voting districts are still being redrawn.
“We don’t know where the lines are going to be. We have to wait several more weeks. I’m sure there will be very qualified republicans that will run for that seat, but we don’t know where that seat’s going to be yet.” Fresno County Republican Party Chairman Fred Vanderhoof said.
Phil Arballo, the Democrat candidate who ran against Nunes in 2020 and is running for the seat again in 2022, released a statement in response to Nunes’ resignation, saying “good riddance.”
Meanwhile, Vanderhoof says while Nunes’ departure is a loss in the house for republicans, his new role is just as important.
“This is a key moment in American history for all of us. Are we going to be censored for the future, taken off of different platforms, or are we going to continue to have the right to free speech?” Vanderhoof said.
Voters in District 22 will choose a temporary replacement in a special election early this summer.