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Former county prosecutor Andrew Janz (D) is projected to win the second slot in California’s 22nd Congressional District primary, setting the stage for a high-profile clash with House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesLIVE COVERAGE: Ways and Means begins Day 2 on .5T package Biden faces unfinished mission of evacuating Americans Nunes sues MSNBC, alleging Rachel Maddow defamed him MORE (R).
The Associated Press called the race for Janz at 11:22 p.m. PDT.
Knocking off Nunes will be a tough task for Janz — the incumbent won by more than 30 points in 2016, when President TrumpDonald TrumpTexas announces election audit in four counties after Trump demand Schumer sets Monday showdown on debt ceiling-government funding bill Pennsylvania AG sues to block GOP subpoenas in election probe MORE also won the district by 9 points.
But Democrats are emboldened by Nunes’s ardent support of Trump during the investigation into Russia’s election meddling, which has drawn headlines and made Nunes a polarizing political figure.
Janz, a first-time candidate, was the clear Democratic front-runner in the primary race. Since California’s “jungle primary” allows the top two candidates regardless of party to advance to the general election, he had been expected to move forward.
Janz has made the race a direct referendum on Nunes’s relationship with Trump amid the ongoing Russia probe. Nunes has taken center-stage as one of Trump’s biggest congressional defenders — as head of the House Intelligence Committee, he's sought to discredit special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel MORE's Russia investigation and has accused the Justice Department of being biased against Trump.
Even though it’s not clear whether the controversy surrounding Nunes will be enough to make the race competitive, Janz has effectively parlayed the news into a strong fundraising haul, having raised almost $1.9 million this cycle.
But Nunes’s visible role in defending the president has endeared him to many on the right as well. Ivanka TrumpIvanka TrumpMary Trump calls Donald Trump Jr. her 'stupidest' relative Trump Tower debt added to watch list as vacancies rise House panel tees up Trump executive privilege fight in Jan. 6 probe MORE, the president’s elder daughter, is headlining a fundraiser for Nunes later this month, and the incumbent has raised $4.8 million this cycle.