Phil Arballo, a Fresno Democratic Congressional contender who made his name leading a defeated, but highly lucrative, 2020 campaign against former Rep. Devin Nunes in 2020 has found a new career path since taking the Congressional plunge.
Arballo, who went on to lose the 2022 primary to now-Rep. John Duarte (R–Modesto) in a majority-making Valley Congressional seat last June, is now embracing a new vocation: amateur pornography producer.
The backstory: Arballo, once a financial consultant, kicked off his candidacy against Nunes in 2020 with the backing of political infrastructure developed by Nunes’ 2018 opponent, current Fresno City Attorney Andrew Janz.
- Throughout 2020, Arballo bombarded small-dollar Democratic donors across the country with high-volume, desperation-heavy email fundraising appeals to amass more than $5 million for his campaign against Nunes, which amounted to roughly half the sum raised by Janz in 2018.
- The fundraising approach against a nationally-recognized political name in a no-chance campaign has drawn derision from political watchers as being “scammy.”
- During that campaign, Arballo paid himself $45,623.74 in salary through donor funds. He would lose to Nunes by 8.4 points.
- After his defeat to Nunes, Arballo became a consultant to the Voter Protection Project, a Federal PAC established by Janz to harness donor enthusiasm following his 2018 defeat to the Tulare lawmaker, harnessing his donor list from the 2020 campaign.
- From late November 2020 through the end of 2021, Arballo was drew a salary of $75,519.5 from VPP, per FEC records.
- In 2022, following California’s redistricting – which coincided with the retirements of Nunes and Rep. Jerry McNerney (D–Stockton) – Arballo sought to serve as the leading Democratic contender for the open 13th Congressional District, a rural, Latino-heavy seat running from Stanislaus County to the westside of Fresno County.
- Arballo would miss the November general election run-off against Duarte, a well-known farmer and nursery owner, after Asm. Adam Gray (D–Merced) entered the race. He finished the 2022 June Primary with 17.1 percent of the vote.
- With no campaign of his own, Arballo returned to campaign consulting, assisting long-shot Democratic contender Mike Barkley in his bid against Rep. Tom McClintock (R–Elk Grove).
- Barkley’s wayward campaign would pay Arballo and his consulting firm $62,460.76 from July 2022 through the end of the year.
Driving the news: Long before his political pursuits, Arballo was a low-level rock musician operating under the name “Felipe Jones!”, according to a profile on ReverbNation. Arballo used the pseudonym to register a Twitter account in 2011.
- In mid-January, Arballo’s Twitter account pronounced that Felipe Jones was a Manager, Producer, and Casting Agent for “Cen. Cal’s Newest & Most Premium Amateur Adult [Entertainment Company,” dubbed Next 2 Nuthin’ Productions.
- The first reference to the pornography firm came in response to a 19-year-old woman from Parlier who referenced a separate tweet regarding having sex on a balcony.
- “We can help you check that box off” Arballo responded via his Twitter account, which included a photo of a business card for Felipe Jones.
- Prior to 2023, the Felipe Jones account would respond in threads regarding California sports and national politics, with one – responding to Bernie Sanders operative Chuck Rocha – questioning why he wasn’t focusing on the 13th Congressional District (where Arballo had previously lost in the primary).
- Tuesday, Arballo tweeted out the following via the account to promote his pornography venture’s bona fides:
State of play: In mid-February, the Fresno Democrat filed a statement of candidacy with the FEC to – once again – seek the 13th Congressional seat held by Duarte, a top target if Democrats wish to retake the House.
- Simultaneously, Arballo is serving as a consultant and compliance officer for Jesus “Andy” Morales, a Bakersfield Democrat challenging House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in 2024.
What they’re saying: Arballo did not respond to a Sun request for comment on his new vocation.
- Since being contacted by The Sun, the Next 2 Nuthin Twitter account was made private.
- Per sources who followed the account following its move to private status, the account was wiped of its references to adult content and most of its ties to Arballo, but did feature some of his replies to 2018 stories published by GV Wire.