Devin Nunes Is Leaving Congress Before Potential Defeat in Redrawn District

Republican Representative Devin Nunes is leaving Congress at the end of the month for a job with former President Donald Trump's newly established media company.

Nunes currently represents California's 22nd congressional district and won reelection in 2020 by a more than eight-point margin, but redistricting in the state may have put his political future at risk.

The longtime Trump ally will resign from the House of Representatives and become CEO of Trump Media & Technology Group (TMTG), a media firm set up by the former president in February.

Nunes' decision may come as a surprise to some as Republicans aim to take back the House.

The California congressman was in line to be named chair of the Ways and Means Committee in a newly GOP-controlled House—a position that is often considered the most powerful chairmanship.

Nunes' impending resignation could be due in part to a potentially difficult reelection race in 2022.

California's current 22nd congressional district has long favored Republicans, but the independent commission redrawing the state's voting districts is set to make changes that could have harmed Nunes' chances of retaining his seat.

Nunes' district in the San Joaquin Valley covers most of western Tulare County and eastern Fresno County.

The once-a-decade redrawing follows the results of the U.S. Census and would change Nunes' district, removing some conservative voters and adding south Fresno, which is more liberal. The final maps are expected on December 27—around the time Nunes will leave Congress.

Nunes won reelection in 2020 with 54.2 percent of the vote to Democrat Phil Arballo's 45.8 percent. Arballo issued a statement about Nunes' resignation, simply saying: "Good riddance."

Arballo also announced in January that he would run against Nunes again in 2022.

Even before redrawing, the 22nd district was growing more competitive, with President Joe Biden losing the presidential vote there by just six points in 2020. By contrast, former President Barack Obama lost there by 15 points in 2012.

Republicans had reportedly been waiting to see if Nunes would choose to run in a different California district due to the redrawn maps and potentially set up a contest with another Republican.

In a statement issued by TMTG on Monday, Nunes said: "The time has come to reopen the Internet and allow for the free flow of ideas and expression without censorship. The United States of America made the dream of the Internet a reality and it will be an American company that restores the dream. I'm humbled and honored President Trump has asked me to lead the mission and the world class team that will deliver on this promise."

There will be a special election in California's 22nd district to fill the seat left vacant by Nunes next year and the race could prove competitive for both parties ahead of the election in a newly drawn district in November 2022.

Devin Nunes Attends a Committee
Representative Devin Nunes (R-CA) participates in a full committee markup of H.Res.746 in the Longworth House Office Building on Capitol Hill, December 17, 2019 in Washington, D.C. Nunes will leave Congress at the end of December. Mark Wilson/Getty Images