The message to voters in California's 22nd Congressional District from the Fresno Bee is different this year: Don't vote for Devin Nunes.
The local paper, for the first time in 16 years, has endorsed Nunes' opponent. The paper's editorial board recommends Democrat Andrew Janz, a deputy district attorney challenging the incumbent Republican who first won office in 2002.
Janz "offers the best chance to both lead the district by attending to its issues and then by striving for bipartisanship in Washington, D.C., which is the only answer to the poison of gridlock politics that is stifling debate and action at nearly all levels," the editorial board wrote in an editorial published Saturday.
Nunes and the paper have had a contentious relationship, which has included a 38-page magazine the Nunez campaign mailed to voters in the district titled, "The Fresno Bees: The dirty little secrets of the Valley's propaganda machine." Nunes is a polarizing figure whom, as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, the paper has accused of helping obstruct the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
While the Bee invited Nunes to meet with its editorial board twice, Nunes did not reply.
"Janz, by contrast, made time to sit down and discuss the issues. For that reason — and more — he has earned the recommendation," the board wrote, before delving into the details of Janz's positions.
Voters who support Nunes will "remain stuck with the damaging partisanship he practices, the party-above-country mode that motivates him to protect President Trump from the investigation into Russian meddling more than meet his constitutional obligations as an independent arm of government," the editorial board wrote.
Nunes is heavily favored in the district, which is ranked "likely GOP" by RealClearPolitics despite Hillary Clinton's winning the district by more than 18 points in 2016. Recent polls have shown Nunes with as much as a 14-point lead over Janz.