Andrew Janz, the Democrat who unsuccessfully ran against Rep. 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-Calif.) in 2018, is launching a new voting rights group to combat voter suppression and expand access to voting.
Janz, a county prosecutor, founded the Voter Protection Project, which will focus on passing voting rights laws through state ballot initiatives ahead of the 2020 elections, particularly in possible presidential swing states like Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Nevada and Ohio.
Janz said in an interview that his group will focus on a number of voting related issues like expanding same-day voter registration and early voting as well as taking on voter ID laws. He said that his group is different from other voting rights groups because they tend to be more focused on legal battles.
He instead wants to be more directly engaged in elections and ramp up involvement in federal races in the 2020 cycle.
“What I learned in my race is that you can’t begin to address the structural problems with our elections during the middle of a campaign. You need to take care of those things before the campaign starts,” Janz told The Hill.
“Even though this goal is ambitious, I think we can do it given what I had done in my congressional race,” he continued, adding that he wants to also “play independently” in campaigns through TV and radio advertising specifically targeting “area that are disenfranchised.”
Janz garnered national attention in his congressional run against Nunes, raising nearly $10 million in his underdog bid. California’s 22nd District is a GOP stronghold that Trump carried by nearly 10 points in 2016. Nunes ultimately won reelection last November by less than 6 points.
Nunes, a loyal Trump ally and former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, made waves in 2017 over his handling of the committee’s investigation into Russia’s election interference, which has now concluded.
Janz plans to rely on his small-dollar donor network that powered his congressional bid as he seeks to build out the Voter Protection Project. He said he hopes to be fully staffed and operational by early spring.
The California Democrat identified the disputed House race in North Carolina’s 9th District as his first priority — if a new election is called.
Republican Mark HarrisMark HarrisNorth Carolina political operative pleads guilty to ballot fraud The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - GOP makes infrastructure play; Senate passes Asian hate crimes bill Hillicon Valley: Intelligence agency gathers US smartphone location data without warrants, memo says | Democrats seek answers on impact of Russian hack on DOJ, courts | Airbnb offers Biden administration help with vaccine distribution MORE leads Democrat Dan McCready by 905 votes in the race, but the state elections board refused to certify the results as it investigates an alleged absentee ballot fraud scheme.
When it comes to his political future, Janz said he’s considering another run against Nunes, though he expects to make a decision closer to 2020.
“I’m absolutely considering that,” Janz said. “I’m not taking that off the table.”