Politicians and pundits alike are in a frenzy over the “Nunes memo,” a controversial document pertaining to President Trump and the Russia probe, which was released by Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., on Friday morning. But while the memo has everyone in Washington talking, one group couldn’t care less: Nunes’ constituents back in central California.

“People would rather read about the local robbery or whatever the local news is than what Nunes is doing in Washington,” Eric Woomer, news editor of the Visalia Times-Delta, told The New York Times in a new profile on how Nunes’ constituents are reacting to the memo. “Once he goes to Washington and starts talking about Russia and the intel committee, people lose interest,” Woomer said. “I don’t think they relate to Russia. They care about what is going on here.”

And what’s “going on” in California’s 22nd congressional district, which Nunes has represented since 2003, can be summed up by one word: drought. The central California district is the heart of agriculture in the state, and voters care about water rights and protecting farmers’ jobs.

“He really took on the water issue, which is a big fight here,” Tom Pinkham, a plum farmer, told the Times. As for the memo, he said: “The whole thing stinks. I’m not a fan of big government. … It’s just a big game for everyone back there.”

The Times does note that there are critics of Nunes, specifically in the urban part of the district in Fresno:

Not everyone, of course, supports Mr. Nunes, and The Fresno Bee, in a recent editorial, called Mr. Nunes “Trump’s stooge,” for pushing for the release of the classified memo.

The editorial said of Mr. Nunes that “he certainly isn’t representing his Central Valley constituents or Californians, who care much more about health care, jobs and, yes, protecting Dreamers than about the latest conspiracy theory.”

One of his main challengers, Andrew Janz, a deputy district attorney from Fresno County, said this week that the furor over the memorandum had brought in a flood of campaign contributions.

But many of Mr. Nunes’s conservative constituents say he is representing them just fine, and besides, the fracas of Washington is irrelevant to their lives, many say.

The interviews illuminate how important local issues are to voters, a crucial reminder to Democrats hoping to win over Republican-held districts in the 2018 midterms. Read the entire Times piece here.

–Posted by Emma Niles.


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