Despite facing a federal indictment charge relating to personal spending of campaign money, Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-San Diego) has locked down a sixth straight seat in the House of Representatives.
Hunter was able to prevail not only against the charges, but against a fierce Democratic challenger Ammar Campa-Najjar. The highly conservative San Diego area usually bodes well for Republicans and proved to be a Trumpian district during the 2016 Presidential Elections, but Until late yesterday evening, Campa-Najjar wasn’t counting himself out telling the Associated Press “this race has been full of surprises, there may be yet one more surprise,” and that, “candidates don’t decide, voters do.”
Notwithstanding the federal charges, Hunter most likely would have carried a larger margin of victory, however, the final tallies have been rounded up giving Hunter a still-enjoyable 8.6 percent victory coming in the form of 13,135 votes.
Hunter has been a strong Trump proponent since 2016 and outspokenly believes his charges were wrongfully brought against him in a retaliation effort by the justice department. When the charges were first pressed, the President condemned the department for hampering “two easy wins.”
Similar to several other districts, CD 50 was set to be a battle of Trump loyalty versus a progressive movement, but bad blood between the candidates also dramatically increased the tensions. Before the indictment allegations blew the doors wide open for CD 50, Campa-Najjar remained largely unknown. Then, after learning about the supposed 250,000 in illegal spending, Campa-Najjar began to gain traction for obvious reasons.
The once Obama white House Aide berated Hunter for being corrupt, sleazy, dishonest and eventually shaped his campaign around “country over party.” Although polls began to tighten, Hunter would stumble upon a facet of Campa-Najjar’s family that would pull significant weight with constituents.
As reported in CaliforniaGlobe, Ammar Campa-Najjar, the 29-year-old Democrat who won the right to face Hunter by coming in second in the district’s jungle primary, is the grandson of Palestinian terrorist Muhammad Yusuf al-Najjar. As head of the intelligence wing of Fatah, al-Najjar helped mastermind the massacre at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, in which 11 Israeli wrestlers and coaches were murdered. Al-Najjar was assassinated in Beirut in 1973 by Israeli commandos.
The young candidate, born sixteen years after his grandfather’s assassination, has strongly disavowed his grandfather’s notorious past. But that hasn’t stopped Hunter from connecting the family dots.
Hunter’s campaign put out a brutal ad accusing Campa-Najjar of “working to infiltrate Congress” and notes that the bad blood didn’t end with the grandfather. The ad quotes Campa-Najjar’s father Yasser Najjar as saying the murdered Israeli athletes “deserved to die.”
Campa-Najjar tries to turn the paternal tables on Hunter stating “Duncan Hunter Sr. was once congressman, but voters know it’s me and Duncan Jr. on the ballot this time — neither of our fathers are running for congress. Voters will judge us by our own merits, character, and record this election. May the better man win.” And then again saying, “Hunter’s ongoing attacks on me, his wife, and the DOJ aren’t just political; they’re pathological. While Hunter lacks personal accountability, voters know his family isn’t responsible for his actions and I’m not responsible for my family’s actions.”
While only a few Representatives have ever been re-elected during an a federal indictment process, in an earlier statement, Hunter thanked his supporters saying he’s excited “to make it business-as-usual in working with President Trump for the next two years to achieve more success, especially given the challenge of having a Democrat-led House.”