Rep. Devin Nunes, who normally wins his races with 70 percent of the vote but ended up squeaking a win with just 52.7 percent in 2018, has reportedly been telling conservatives in Washington, DC, and around the country that the reason his Democratic opponent got within six points of him wasn’t his bevy of ethics problems, him hitching his wagon to Donald Trump, his total non-focus on local issues, or his family’s exposed move years back to Iowa. In fact, according to Nunes, his 2018 close run was all down to “ballot harvesting.”
Devin Nunes tries hard to think of any plausible excuse beyond mere suckage for his bad 2018 midterm performance.
Ballot harvesting is a practice by which third parties collect paper votes and then deliver them to election officials (or, if you live in North Carolina’s 9th district, by which said third parties totally do not collect and then deliver them to election officials). It increases voter turnout (except if you live in North Carolina’s 9th district and are likely to vote Democratic). Critics say it creates opportunities for rampant voter fraud, which apparently is true at least in the Tar Heel State– the only problem being that it seems to be Republicans who have perfected that process there.
While it’s theoretically possible to see how this would be true, it’s pretty tough to see how “ballot harvesting” could possibly account for Nunes underperforming his usual percentages by 15 or more points.
It’s a lot easier to see his “ballot harvesting” claims as a pathetic dive into conspiracy theorism designed to explain how he nearly lost– a result that was not totally surprising given his own conduct, bevy of ethics problems, failure to do things like keep a functional office in his district, and intense focus on aiding and abetting fellow conspiracy theorists and deeply unpopular people in Washington, D.C. instead of, say, farmers in the Central Valley.
Will Nunes ultimately lose in 2020? California sure seems to be moving in a deeply anti-Republican direction, and six points isn’t much to have to scrape off in order for Nunes to go down.
A lot of this will depend on his own actions, though.
Will Nunes get back to sponsoring water bills– especially now that Rep. David Valadao won’t be around to lighten Nunes’ potential load and do his homework for him? Will he speak out about trade wars ravaging the Central Valley’s agricultural sector? Will he get hip to comprehensive immigration reform or at least speaking out about family separations on the border? Will he divest from his underage prostitute yacht-scandal linked winery? Will he go to a Golden State Warriors game that’s not against the Boston Celtics? Will he quit using his leadership PAC to fund swanky trips back to see friends and family in Portugal, and hang out on Larry Bird’s old turf in Massachusetts? Will he quit running interference with regard to the Russia investigation?
Enquiring minds want to know.