Fresno financial planner Phil Arballo formally announced he would challenge Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Tulare) on Thursday after filing paperwork with the Federal Elections Commission one day prior.
Just a week ago, Arballo was a candidate for a vacant Fresno City Council in northwest Fresno, formerly held by Steve Brandau.
The man who took on Nunes in 2018, prosecutor Andrew Janz, announced he would be backing Arballo. Janz, who passed up a repeat run against Nunes, is currently running for Mayor of Fresno.
I’m passing the torch. The good people of the Central Valley haven’t given up on electing a representative who will fight for us! https://t.co/c2Fj2H8WpG— Andrew Janz (@JanzAndrew) June 6, 2019
The same, however, could not be shared with Janz’s loyal and vocal supporters.
The presidents of the Fresno County and Tulare County Young Democrats took to Twitter to dismiss the endorsement of Arballo:
Thank you, next https://t.co/UbTHQYC9iB— Clara (@claraavarner) June 6, 2019
This includes Democrats.— cam (@cameronforgey) June 5, 2019
mark my words. Young people in the valley are gonna organize like never before for the congressional primary.— cam (@cameronforgey) June 6, 2019
Others criticized Arballo for changing his name from Felipe, a name Arballo uses professionally, to Phil while campaigning for City Council.
Felipe, you ran from your identity while running for city council because North Fresno is majority white. You can’t just suddenly put “Latino” in your Twitter bio now that you’re running for Congress… and think it’s okay. 🤦🏻♀️ @PhilArballo2020— Yas Mendoza (@yasmendza) June 6, 2019
Nobody is owed ANYTHING, not money, not support, not the nomination for a congressional seat, NOTHING. Get ready, the young people are coming, and we ain’t coming quiet. This primary isn’t owned by ANYONE. Young people are organizing, and let me tell you, WE ARE READY— Isaac Gudino (@IsaacRGudino) June 6, 2019
Kingsburg City Councilwoman Jewel Hurtado chimed in via Twitter, offering her support for PriceWaterhouseCoopers consultant Dary Rezvani, another Democrat challenging Nunes.
NOT a career politician, a mechanic who is BOLD enough to stand up & work for the people! We must support our young candidates, we are the future. Give him a follow! https://t.co/2gmwwkXwk1— Jewel Hurtado (@jewelhurtado_) June 6, 2019
In a letter to The Sun sent Saturday, Hurtado said the tweet was not an endorsement of Rezvani, though she had not made any similar statements regarding the other Democrats challenging Nunes.
Kingsburg sits in the 21st Congressional District, represented by Rep. TJ Cox (D-Fresno).
Luke Colvard, a Janz intern who hosts a political podcast, similarly shared his support for Rezvani on Wednesday following Arballo’s entrance into the race.