Devin Nunes has been out of the mainstream political picture since his January 2022 resignation from Congress. But the Tulare Republican hasn’t stopped reporting impressive campaign fundraising numbers.
Not bad for a guy not even running. Nunes left to run the Trump Media & Technology Group.
Federal campaign figures for the second quarter are in, and Nunes reported raising $1.7 million so far in 2023.
There is a caveat — nearly all that is from an Edward Jones investment account.
Rob Pyers, research director with the California Target book, says Nunes’ finances are a “fairly common occurrence with electeds who leave office to park their leftover campaign cash in Edward Jones investment accounts. In Nunes’ case, he left office with over $10 million in the bank, so the returns can be substantial.”
What’s more interesting is how he spent his money this year.
Most of the spending for Quarter 2 (more than $140,000) is with River Right LLC, a political consulting firm in Sanger run by Tal Cloud. The remainder went for employees, attorneys, and taxes.
Cloud had no comment.
Nunes reported $12 million cash on hand through June 30.
For calendar year 2022, he raised more than $5.1 million and spent nearly the same.
McCarthy Tops in Valley, Nation for Fundraising
Not only is Speaker Kevin McCarthy the top House fundraiser among the Central Valley delegation, he tops all members.
It’s not surprising that the Speaker of the House leads the way, with more than $10 million raised for the 2023-24 cycle (more than $5 million for the second quarter). It’s the Speaker’s job to be the top fundraiser.
McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, represents parts of Fresno and Clovis in Congress. He raised 38 times the amount of challenger John Burrows, a Democrat and an aide to Fresno City Councilman Nelson Esparza.
All incumbents in the Valley delegation have strong fundraising leads, some more than others. The closest in the fundraising race is Jim Costa, D-Fresno, with a $70,000 Quarter 2 lead over challenger Michael Maher, R-Kingsburg.
Costa defeated Maher in the 2022 election, 54% to 46%.
Saving the time of reaching out to all candidates, based on past experience, here is what each of them would likely say:
“Of course, I will win the election. Look how much I raised.”
Despite Contribution, Brandau Still a No on Measure E
Campaign financial reports for local offices aren’t due until the end of the month. But large donations must be reported as they happen.
Fresno County Supervisor Steve Brandau accepted $5,000 from developer Richard Spencer on July 5. Spencer is pushing a second attempt at Measure E, which would raise county sales taxes to spend on Fresno State.
Brandau says the money will have no influence.
“I’m not supporting Measure E and the contribution doesn’t change that. I didn’t last time. I’m not this time,” Brandau said.
In 2022, Fresno County voters rejected Measure E. Spencer is raising funds to return it to the ballot in March 2024.
The contribution would limit Brandau on voting on certain items Spencer and his company, Harris Construction, may have in front of the supervisors.
Senate Bill 1439, which went into effect this year, limits elected members voting on “entitlements” (interpreted for now as things like construction contracts) for any contributor giving more than $250.
If Measure E collects enough signatures and forces the Board of Supervisors to place it on the ballot, would Brandau be restricted on voting because of SB 1439? It would seem unlikely, but with any new law, it could be challenged and await an interpretation from a judge.
Brandau is defending his seat against Fresno City Councilman Garry Bredefeld, and Fresno County Assessor-Recorder Paul Dictos.
The election is March 5, 2024. If no candidate achieves a majority, the top two advance to the November general election.
Fresno Chamber Makes Endorsements
The Fresno Chamber of Commerce PAC made several endorsements in local races.
The chamber picked incumbents Brandau, Sal Quintero, and Nathan Magsig for the Fresno County Board of Supervisors; Jerry Dyer for Fresno mayor; and David Tangipa for state Assembly.