Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) is not a farmer, but he likes to call himself one. Now, an actual farmer — who also happens to be one of Nunes’ constituents — is taking court action to stop Nunes from claiming to be something he’s not.
Paul Buxman, a California stone fruit farmer from the town of Dinuba, filed a petition with the Sacramento Superior Court asking the courts to remove the occupation “farmer” from Nunes’ description on the state’s ballots before this year’s midterm elections.
In California, candidates have the option of listing an occupation next to their name on the ballot. Nunes apparently decided that owning stake in a few wineries across the state qualifies him to be called a farmer, but Buxman isn’t having it.
“I don’t believe [he] has had any income from farming for at least 10 years,” Buxman told The Fresno Bee. “He has some interest in a few wineries, but he’s distanced himself from those and says he has no involvement in their day-to-day management.”
Two other residents of California’s 22nd Congressional District, Daniel O’Connell and Hope Nisly, joined Buxman in filing the petition, which asserts that Nunes’ self-identification as a farmer is “false and misleading” and violates election law.
Buxman, a former Nunes’ supporter, said he believes Nunes has forgotten about the farmers in his district and has no business identifying as one, especially in light of policies supported by Nunes that have devastated the farming community.
According to Buxman, workers on local farms have recently been targeted by ICE, while new tariffs imposed by the Trump administration have “ruined the market” for his crops, the Fresno Bee reports.
This isn’t the first time Nunes has faced backlash from his own constituents. In a series of harsh letters to the editor published in the Fresno Bee earlier this summer, one resident of his district said Nunes “epitomizes everything that Americans dislike about our government and its corrupted ways.”
Nunes, who is fighting to keep his seat amid plummeting approval ratings and an endless string of scandals, may be hoping to improve his image among constituents by portraying himself as a down-to-earth farmer, but unfortunately for him, his district encompasses an area with plenty of real farmers — and they know he’s not one of them.