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Rep. Nunes’ Democratic Opponents Capitalize on Memo Release, Raising Campaign Funds to Unseat Him

Democrats challenging California Rep. Devin Nunes for his House seat have seen some benefit to the House Intelligence Committee memo alleging the FBI misused its surveillance authority.

The leading Democratic candidate hoping to unseat the Republican chairman of the committee has raised more than $100,000 in campaign donations.

Since Nunes’ classified memo was released on Friday, the campaign for California prosecutor Andrew Janz has raised $130,379 and is just shy of 4,000 individual contributions.

Rep. Devin Nunes walks away from a meeting with House GOP members on Capitol Hill Jan. 30, 2018. (Credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Rep. Devin Nunes walks away from a meeting with House GOP members on Capitol Hill Jan. 30, 2018. (Credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Janz’s campaign manager, Heather Greven, told CNN that Nunes is doing the campaign a big favor. The campaign has raised more in the past eight days than since Janz announced his candidacy back in April, according to Greven.

The campaign also released a digital ad Thursday night attacking the Republican memo and Nunes’ involvement in drafting it and pushing for its release.

As chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Nunes spearheaded the GOP memo, which was made public Friday by the committee with the approval of President Donald Trump.

Democrats have called the memo misleading and politically motivated, arguing that it omits key information from the underlying intelligence it’s based on.

“There was a lot of hype and there wasn’t really any substance to the memo,” Janz said in an interview Saturday with CNN. He added that people in his district have been concerned about how the memo could affect special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.

Janz said he hopes the Democrats release their own memo to rebut the GOP’s document.

“It’s important to provide context to what Devin (Nunes) has released,” Janz said. “It’s important for the American people to get a full picture so they can reach their own conclusions about how well the FBI is doing their job.”

Nunes, who has served in Congress since 2003, is being challenged by six Democratic candidates, a Libertarian candidate, and an American Solidarity Party candidate in the 22nd Congressional District race, which includes Fresno.

Another Democrat in the race, businessman Ricardo Franco, told CNN that his campaign has seen a relatively big increase in donations over the last week, with $3,000 coming in on Saturday. Campaign disclosures show he raised about $24,000 since announcing his bid last year.

“Concerned Americans, many who don’t live in the district, have visited (the campaign page) to make campaign donations once the Nunes memo was released,” Franco said in an email to CNN.

Janz, who said he’ll come to Washington to rid politics of dark money and focus on health care and clean water issues for his district, is leading the Democratic field in raising money.

But if he wins the June primary, Janz could face difficult odds against Nunes in the November election. Nunes was easily reelected in 2016, winning just more than 67% of the vote.

Nunes’ campaign also ended the year with nearly $4 million cash on hand, according to Federal Election Commission filings.

Janz, the son of immigrant parents, said he also wants comprehensive immigration legislation and for Dreamers not to be used as a bargaining chip in negotiations with Trump, who has pushed for border wall funding.

“At the end of the day, I think that members of Congress need to sit down and get this done,” Janz said. “I think if they can’t, we need new leadership and I’m talking about new leadership on both sides.”

He added, “I think with this being a potential wave election, we’re going to be able to usher in a new generation of leadership in Washington, and I hope to be a part of that.”