In 2002, Nunes ran for the Republican nomination in the 21st congressional district, a new district created through reapportionment after the 2000 United States Census. His principal opponents in the crowded seven-way primary were former Fresno mayor Jim Patterson and state Assemblyman Mike Briggs. Nunes was the only major candidate from Tulare County; Patterson and Briggs were both from Fresno. This was critical, as 58% of the district's population was in Tulare County. Patterson and Briggs split the vote in Fresno County, allowing Nunes to win by a four-point margin over Patterson, his nearest competitor. Nunes won 46. 5% of the vote in Tulare County and 28. 1% of the vote in Fresno County. Nunes was also helped by a strong showing in the rural part of the district. He won the endorsements of the California Farm Bureau and The Fresno Bee. The district is solidly Republican, and Nunes coasted to victory in November. He was reelected seven times against only nominal Democratic opposition until 2018, when he faced a serious opponent and won his ninth election by 5%. He ran unopposed in the 2010 general election.