Devin Nunes' Democratic Challenger Says He Raised Nearly $300K to Unseat GOP Congressman in 2020 Amid Impeachment Hearings

A California Democratic congressional candidate, who's running against Republican Congressman Devin Nunes in 2020, this weekend revealed that his campaign has raised almost $300,000 to unseat the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee since the public Trump impeachment hearings commenced two weeks ago.

Phil Arballo, a small business owner from Fresno, California, told Newsweek on Sunday that his campaign has "raised nearly $300,000 from nearly 10,000 contributions" since the impeachment hearings began earlier this month.

The candidate speculated that the support could in-part be the result of residents growing tired of Nunes' alleged "obsession with chasing conspiracy theories instead of fighting for affordable healthcare, good jobs, and clean air and water."

"If given the opportunity to represent this district, I will never lose sight of these critical issues and will never make a mockery of the people who trusted me with their vote," he added.

Arballo runs a small financial services business and is a prominent member of the local civic community in the San Joaquin Valley through participation in organizations including the Fresno's Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee and Fresno's Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Although his campaign against Nunes is picking up momentum, the Democrat still faces an uphill battle in defeating the congressman in 2020. According to the last Federal Election Commission report, Nunes, who won his election in 2016 by over 35 points, currently has $7 million of funds for his reelection efforts.

My campaign is about the "future of all those families that call this community home," Arballo said on Sunday, "we must create a future that ensures them with good affordable healthcare, clean air and clean water and economic opportunities. Unfortunately our current representative hasn't been focused on any of these issues."

Nunes has come under fire this weekend after it was revealed that he spent nearly $57,000 on a European visit for himself and members of his staff to allegedly probe the family of former Vice President Joe Biden. Reports filed with the Office of the Clerk for the House of Representatives show that the congressman claimed expenses on a short trip to Europe between November 30 and December 3, with flights purchased for himself, Scott Glabe, George Pappas and Derek Harvey.

Commenting on the report, Arballo deemed the revelation "extremely disturbing, but not surprising." "This behavior from Devin Nunes has been his M.O. for years now, we now know what many have suspected, that Nunes wasn't just covering up for President Trump, he was literally doing his dirty work," he said.

The trip appears to corroborate allegations made by Lev Parnas, a Ukrainian-born U.S. citizen who worked for Donald Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani. Parnas reportedly assisted Nunes in organizing meetings with officials from Ukraine to find dirt on Biden, the current 2020 Democratic front-runner. Parnas has since been indicted on criminal charges, and Nunes had said he planned to sue the media outlets that published the allegations.

Devin Nunes
Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) walks past the media without comment after leaving a closed door briefing with Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson before the House Intelligence Committee on October 4, 2019 in Washington, DC. Pete Marovich/Getty