Ammar Campa-Najjar

COVID-19 BECOMES KEY ISSUE IN EAST COUNTY ELECTIONS

Candidates for Congress, county supervisor, cite voter concern  

By Emmet Pierce

Photos,  top left to lower right:  Darrell Issa, Ammar Campa-Najjar, Georgette Gomez, Sara Jacobs, Joel Anderson and Steve Vaus

 

June 12, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- As East County residents struggle to recover from the health and economic impacts of COVID-19, the pandemic is becoming a key issue in the November election.

ECM spoke with candidates for our region’s top tier races, where three open seats will mean new leadership for the first time in decades in two of our region’s Congressional districts as well as East County’s county supervisorial district.


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CAMPA-NAJJAR AND ISSA HEAD TO RUN-OFF IN NOVEMBER IN RACE TO FILL HUNTER’S SEAT

County's four other Congressional seats appear likely to stay in Democratic control

By Miriam Raftery

March 3, 2020 (San Diego) – With 42.5% of precincts reporting in the 50th Congressional district seat vacated by the resignation of disgraced Congressman Duncan D. Hunter, Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar is leading with 34.4% of the vote and appears headed for a run-off in November against former Congressman Darrell Issa, who has 24.7% of the road.

Republicans Carl DeMaio, a conservative radio host, and State Senator Brian Jones, have 21.1% and 10.7% respectively. Marissa Calderon, a Democrat who dropped out of the race, still received 5.2%. Four other candidates scored in low single digits.


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CALDERON DROPS OUT, ENDORSES CAMPA-NAJJAR FOR CONGRESS

By Miriam Raftery

February 5, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – Marissa Calderon, a Democrat  who entered the 50th Congressional district primary race belatedly after the resignation of Republican Congressman Duncan Hunter in January, has announced she is dropping out of the race to care for two family members with serious health conditions.  Calderon has endorsedAmmar Campa-Najjar, who is also endorsed by the Democratic Party.

Calderon’s name will still appear on ballots which were printed before her withdrawal.


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TEN CANDIDATES QUALIFY FOR MARCH BALLOT IN RACE TO REPLACE HUNTER

 

Update:  Minutes after publication of this article, Hunter announced plans to resign January 13.

By Miriam Raftery

January 7, 2020 (San Diego) – Rep. Duncan Hunter has not yet resigned, despite saying he would do so after the holiday following his guilty plea to conspiracy to spend campaign funds for personal use.  But he didn’t file to run for reelection. Instead, voters will have 10 candidates to choose from.

The contenders include two Democrats, four Republicans, three no-party-preference candidates, and a Peace and Freedom party member. They’re vying to finish in the top two spots in the March primary in order to advance to a November run-off election.

Here’s a look at how some of the major candidates’ campaigns are taking shape:


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ARMY VETERAN AND FEDERAL CONTRACTOR HELEN HORVATH, INDEPENDENT CANDIDATE FOR CONGRESS, TAKES AIM AT HUNTER’S SEAT

 

"I believe we need more independents in Congress because  parties are so mired in their fighting…they’re not representing the country. I value our community, and I want to serve the country.”  -- Helen Horvath, mliitary veteran, federal consultant and Alpine resident

By Miriam Raftery

September 29, 2019 (San Diego) – Like many voters, Helen Horvath is an independent whose views on key issues cross political aisles. She’s a fiscal conservative who wants to use her expertise to cut the national debt, but also believes we need to move toward a clean energy future and protect women’s rights, while taking a moderate stance on gun issues. She supports strong border security while also showing compassion for refugees fleeing violence, and pledges to be a strong voice for military families and veterans.

Now she’s entered the 50th Congressional district race, vying against indicted Rep. Duncan Hunter,  Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar, conservative talk show host Carl DeMaio, former Rep. Darrell Issa and State Senator Brian Jones. (Note: the latter two entered the race this week, after our interview).

Hear our interview: In an interview originally aired on KNSJ 89.1 FM radio last month, Horvath shared her thoughts in depth. Listen to the full interview by clicking the audio link,  and scroll down for highlights.

Audio: 


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FOUR RIVALS DROP OUT AND ENDORSE ISSA IN RACE TO REPLACE HUNTER; DEMAIO DISRUPTS WITH COMPETING RALLY

 

CA Senator Brian Jones, also running, chides non-resident candidates for holding press conference in “wrong district”  

Video excerpt: Darrell Issa

Video excerpt: Carl DeMaio

by Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

September 26, 2019 (El Cajon) -- The weather in El Cajon Thursday morning was cloudy and drizzly in front of City Hall. But the political rhetoric was sweltering. In the race for San Diego’s 50th Congressional District, four Republican candidates for the seat bowed out and swung their support to former 49th District Congressman Darrell Issa.

Another candidate, former San Diego City Councilman and conservative radio host Carl DeMaio, held a rival press conference some 100 feet away to attack Issa. State Senator Brian Jones, who is also running, chose to remain above the fray by staying away.


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FINDING MIDDLE GROUND: CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE CAMPA-NAJJAR SPEAKS OUT ON KEY ISSUES, IN HIS OWN WORDS

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor and Miriam Raftery, Editor

View video of complete town hall: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fj9ot7tcbXchttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fj9ot7tcbXc

 

“We are one nation, under God, indivisible. But right now, I think that notion is being tested at our deepest core. I think it is time for us to lead with our values again as a nation." -- Ammar Campa-Najjar

September 17, 2019 (Alpine)—At a town hall meeting in Alpine on August 18, some 100 East County residents heard Congressional candidate Ammar Campa-Najjar field questions on a wide range of issues. He offered thoughtful responses, many moderate positions and at times, maverick views on topics such as healthcare, gun violence, climate change, jobs, education, immigration and more.

The Jamul resident and Democratic contender has worked at the national level on both business and labor issues. Now he’s running for the 50th Congressional district seat held by indicted Republican Congressman Duncan D. Hunter, whose federal corruption trial begins in January.

Dressed in a long-sleeved sports shirt and blue jeans, the 30 year-old hopeful emphasized that to win in 2020, he has to attract voters across party lines. The Republican party still holds a substantial registration advantage, but Campa-Najjar came within three percentage points of ousting Hunter in 2018 in what had long been considered a GOP stronghold.

First, Campa-Najjar gave an overview of his platform. Next he answered questions on 10 topics randomly pulled from questions submitted beforehand. Then came live questions posed by audience members at a microphone.


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CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE AMMAR CAMPA-NAJJAR HOSTS TOWN HALL IN ALPINE AUGUST 18

East County News Service

August 7, 2019, 2019 (Alpine) – Congressional candidate Ammar Campa-Najjar will be at a Town Hall Meet and Greet open to the public at the Alpine Community Center on August 18th from 1 to 4 p.m. Food and beverages will be served. The event is hosted by Alpine resident Anne Craig-Tillmond.

 

Campa-Najjar is facing off in the November, 2020 elections against incumbent Congressman Duncan D. Hunter, Jr. and/or other primary challengers.

 

The Town Hall format offers an opportunity for constituents to ask questions about issues that matter most to them.


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HEAR OUR INTERVIEW: CONGRESSIONAL CANDIATE AMMAR CAMPA-NAJJAR ON HIS PLANS TO BRING HIGH-INCOME JOBS TO EAST COUNTY AND MORE

By Miriam Raftery

Listen to the full interview, originally aired on KNSJ radio: click the audio link.

Learn more about Ammar Campa-Najjar's town hall at the Alpine Community Center on August 18 from 1-4 p.m. by clicking here.

August 9, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) – “We need an economy and a government that works for working people,” says Ammar Campa-Najjar, who is running for the 50th Congressional district seat currently held by indicted Congressman Duncan Hunter. So we sat down with Campa-Najjar on our radio show to discuss those plans in detail.

Headlines tout a strong GDP as well as low unemployment. But  those numbers don’t tell the full story,  Campa-Najjar points out. “That’s great if you own stock.  But it’s not great if unemployment is low because one person is working three jobs, barely making a living and living paycheck to paycheck, having to choose whether to buy a gallon of gas or a gallon of milk.”  He says that in talking with people across the district, he’s hearing from people who are having to cut prescription pills in half or who can’t pay for insulin, choosing which bills to skip paying to cover basic survival needs. “These are real issues in the district, especially in rural areas."

Unlike most candidates who have run for this seat through the years, Campa-Najjar says he is uniquely positioned to bring good jobs to East County and elsewhere in the district because “I worked at the Department of Labor to create good-paying jobs, not just in San Diego County, but throughout the country.”

At the Department of Labor, he worked on creating apprenticeship jobs to train workers in high-paying fields, as well as setting up summer youth jobs and opportunities for veterans.  He later worked for the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce as communications and marketing director, which included promoting opportunities for small businesses to secure contracts with the federal government and corporations. He’s also worked as an educator teaching at UCSD, USD and SDSU.

He’s also a small business owner and Jamul resident who was born in La Mesa and raised by a working class Catholic mother. His first job was as a janitor at his church, where he became a youth leader before graduating from San Diego State and later working in the White House and at the U.S. Department of Labor.

So what kinds of jobs would he bring to the district, including rural areas, small towns and Native American reservations?

Audio: 

Ammar Campa-Najjar interview

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HUNTER DRAWS FIRE FOR ADMISSIONS HE SHOT AT CIVILIANS AND POSED WITH DEAD IRAQI SOLDIERS

By Miriam Raftery

Photo:  Duncan D. Hunter, right, via Duncan D. Hunter for Congress campaign

June 2, 2019 (San Diego) – Republican Congressman Duncan D. Hunter is drawing fire for admitting that he fired at civilians in Iraq while serving combat duty with the Marines, also posing with corpses of dead enemy combatants.

Hunter has been vocal in his public support of Chief Special Warfare Operator Edward Gallagher, a San Diego-based Navy Seal charged with war crimes including shooting at civilians and fatally stabbing a young wounded prisoner, then posing with the corpse.

During a town hall meeting in Ramona over Memorial Day weekend, Hunter stated that Gallagher “did one bad thing that I’m guilty of too –taking a picture of the body and saying something stupid,” Times of San Diego reported, posting an audio recording.

Hunter doubled down on those remarks during a later taped interview with the online site Zero Blog Thirty, in which he stated, “So, I was an artillery officer and we fired hundreds of rounds into Fallujah, killing probably hundreds of civilians,” adding, “probably killed women and children if there were any left in the city when we invaded. Do I get judged, too?”

As for the charges Gallagher faces of murdering a teenage ISIS fighter who had been brought in for medical treatment, Hunter told Zero Blog Thirty, ““I frankly don’t care if he was killed. I just don’t care.” He added that even if Gallagher did stab the wounded prisoner to death, he still “deserves a break”, indicating Gallagher should not be held accountable for violating the Military Code of Justice.

Barstool Sports, which publishes the Zero Blog Thirty podcast, released a statement Sunday calling Hunter’s rhetoric “horrific.”


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D-DAY VETERAN HONORED AT TRUMP’ S STATE OF UNION ADDRESS ENDORSES CAMPA-NAJJAR FOR CONGRESS IN RACE AGANST HUNTER, A VETERAN

By Miriam Raftery

Photo:  Retired Pvt. First Class Joseph Reilly, courtesy of the White House website

May 17, 2019 (San Diego) – Joseph Reilly, a D-Day veteran who parachuted behind enemy lines in Britain and fought other battles to help liberate Eastern Europe during World War II, has made his first political endorsement at age 97.  Reilly, whose courageous actions were honored by Donald Trump at the President’s State of the Union Address, has endorsed Ammar Campa-Najjar, the Democrat running against indicted Republican Congressman Duncan D. Hunter in the 50th Congressional district.

Hunter has been a strong supporter of Trump on the  campaign and during Trump’s presidency. But Reilly, a former Army private, said in a statement that he is “proud” to support Campa-Najjar because Hunter “has now crossed the line twice. First when he betrayed the public in order to enrich himself, and now again when he  makes such shameful and false attacks in order to hold onto his power.”

Hunter, a combat veteran in Iraq and Afghanistan, is awaiting trial on federal corruption charges. He and his wife are accusing of taking over $250,000 from his campaign and spending it on lavish personal expenditures including family vacations to Italy and Hawaii, jewelry, oral surgery bills, tuition at his children’s private school, and airfare for his son’s pet rabbit.


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CAMPA-NAJJAR TO RUN AGAIN IN 50TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT

By Miriam Raftery

January 3, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) – For the past 37 years, much of East County has been represented by Duncan Hunter Sr. and his son, Duncan Hunter. Jr.  Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar came the closest of any challenger to defeating either Hunter in November 2018, when Hunter eked out a slim3.4% win despite a felony indictment on federal corruption charges. This week, Campa-Najjar filed a statement of candidacy form with the Federal Election Commission and confirmed his intent to run again in 2020 on Twitter.

“Thank you to the 125,000 (48.3%) of you who voted for me to be your congressman, I’m excited to run again. I’m ready to pour my heart & soul into this race, community organize, listen, learn, and become the representative #CA50 deserves,” he posted.


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HUNTER LEAD SLIPS AS COUNTING CONTINUES; CAMPA-NAJJAR TRAILS BY JUST OVER 10,000 VOTES

 

Update November 28, 2018:  Statewide, Hunter's lead has slipped further. Hunter now leads by 3.6%, with 51.8% to Campa-Najjar with 48.2%.  Hunter has 131,436 votes and Campa-Najjar has 122,255, or a difference  of 8,181 votes. San Diego County has 47,000 ballots left to process, but it's unclear how many are in the 50th Congressoinal District. There may also be a small number of untallied votes left in Riverside County.

By Miriam Raftery

November 19, 2018 (San Diego)—On Election night, indicted Congressman Duncan D. Hunter led challenger Ammar Campa Najjar by nearly 9%.  But as of tonight, Hunter’s lead has slipped to just 4.3% counting both Riverside and San Diego counties, or a difference of 10,046 votes out of 231,800 votes cast.

Importantly, in San Diego, which has  over 10 times more voters in the 50th Congressional District than Riverside, Hunter’s lead is a scant 4.6%, a margin of just 7,782 votes. Countywide, the San Diego Registrar reports 112,000 ballots not yet tallied, though it’s unclear how many are in the50th Congressional district.

 Hunter has 52.17% of the vote locally, compared to 47.83% for Campa-Najjar, who has been steadily gaining ground as late mail-in and provisional ballots favoring Democrats are counted.

Regardless of the final tally, this is clearly the closest race ever in this once reliably conservative district.  In his prior five campaigns for Congress, Hunter waltzed easily to victory over his Democratic opponents with margins of victory ranging from 17% in 2016 to a whopping 42.8% in 2014. His father, the former Congressman, similary won by hefty margins during his many years in office.


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ESCONDIDO MAYOR'S RACE UPSET SHOWS IMPACT OF "AMMAR EFFECT"

 

Source:  Indi Squared

Photo:  Indi Squared Canvass Kickoff, Escondido CA  9/2/18

November 16, 2018 (Escondido) -- Just as Texas Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke is being credited with the “Beto Effect” – a massive voter turnout that lifted down-ballot Democrats to victory in Congress and the Texas legislature – a similar, if smaller, dynamic may be taking place in CA50.

Extraordinary voter outreach on behalf of congressional candidate Ammar Campa-Najjar exceeded any effort on behalf of a Democratic campaign in CA50 history. While ballots are still being counted at the San Diego County Registrar of Voters, with 92,873 votes, Campa-Najjar has more than doubled the vote for Duncan Hunter’s last midterm challenger, James Kimber, who received 45,302 votes in 2014, according to Ballotpedia.


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DEMOCRAT LEVIN FLIPPING THE 49th; REP. HUNTER HANGING ON IN 50th

Mike Levin and Diane Harkey

 

By Ken Stone, Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

Photos, left to right: Rep. Duncan Hunter, Ammar Campa-Najjar, Mike Levin, Diane Harkey

November 6, 2028 (San Diego)-- Voters warmed to environmental attorney Mike Levin as early state results show the Democrat wresting the coastal 49th Congressional District from longtime GOP control.

The state’s overall tally showed voters in southern Orange County and northern San Diego County favoring Levin over state Board of Equalization member Diane Harkey, a Republican endorsed by retiring Rep. Darrell Issa, 53 percent to 47 percent.


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PITTSBURGH SYNAGOGUE SHOOTINGS DENOUNCED LOCALLY AND AROUND THE WORLD

East County News Service

Photos: Pittsburgh memorial to slain synagogue victims, White House flag at half mast, Eifel Tower in Paris dark in commemoration, Pittsburgh Steelers logo with star of David.

November 1, 2018 (San Diego) – Around the world and locally, the world grieves the slaughter of 11 Jewish people during a worship service and baby-naming ceremony at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania this week.   

In San Diego, people of all faiths came together to show solidarity in the face of the attack by an avowed anti-Semitic mass shooter.  Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-San Diego), who is Jewish,  posted on social media, “An overflowing and diverse crowd of thousands brought love and resolve to Temple Beth Israel - demonstrating how strongly San Diegans reject hate and division. So proud of everyone who stood up and said: Not Here! Not Anywhere!”

Congressman Duncan D. Hunter (R-Alpine) has been silent on the issue on his social media. 

His opponent, Ammar Campa-Najjar, issued this statement: “I am horrified by the heinous attack,” adding, “There are no words to fully convey our sadness and horror at the murder of Jewish people who were worshipping with their community on Shabbat."


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HUNTER SMEAR TACTICS BACKFIRE: CAMPA-NAJJAR RAISES FIVE TIMES MORE MONEY THAN INDICTED CONGRESSMAN

 

By Miriam Raftery

October 18, 2018 (San Diego) – Over $1.4 million in donations have poured into the campaign coffers of Ammar Campa-Najjar from June 30th to September 30th, over five times more than his opponent, Congressman Duncan D. Hunter. 

Facing federal felony charges of embezzling a quarter of a million dollars from his campaign for lavish personal expenses including European vacations, overnight stays with mistresses, jewelry, and oral surgery bills. Hunter has tried to blame his wife, blasting his opponent with a racially-based smear campaign touting claims found false by national media fact checkers. 


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READER’S EDITORIAL: WHY THIS TRANSGENDER WOMAN WILL BE VOTING FOR AMMAR

 

By Meredith Vezina, Julian

October 5, 2018 (Julian) - First, let me say that I’m voting for Ammar Campa-Najjar for Congress because I’m a life-long progressive Democrat and because of Ammar’s positions on issues such as healthcare, the environment, immigration and education.  


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NEW DUNCAN HUNTER AD: DEMOCRATIC FOE IS ‘SECURITY RISK’ TIED TO MUSLIM TERRORISTS

 

 

Video attacking Campa-Najjar, a Christian, is denounced as false “hate-mongering”

By Ken Stone

Reprinted from Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

Photo: Screen shot from Duncan Hunter campaign ad suggests that Ammar Campa-Najjar’s father said “They deserved to die,” referring to Israelis killed in 1972 Olympic attack. Image via YouTube.com

September 28, 2018 (San Diego) - A new 30-second commercial, appearing on Rep. Duncan Hunter’s YouTube channel and shared via Twitter, depicts his Democratic opponent as a security risk bankrolled by the Muslim Brotherhood.


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TAKE OUR POLL: WHO WILL YOU VOTE FOR IN CONGRESSIONAL RACE?

 

 

With Rep. Duncan D. Hunter indicted on federal corruption charges, will you vote for Hunter, a Republican, his Democratic opponent, Ammar Campa-Najjar, or not vote?

50th Congressional District voters, please take our poll here:   http://www.eastcountymagazine.org/poll/rep-duncan-d-hunter-has-been-indi...


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FORMER PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA ENDORSES AMMAR CAMPA-NAJJAR IN 50TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT

 

East County News Service

August 5, 2018 (San Diego’s East County) – Ammar Campa-Najjar has picked up a high-level endorsement for his bid to unseat Congressman Duncan D. Hunter in the hotly contested 50th Congressional district race. Former President Barack Obama this week announced his endorsement of 81 candidates, including Campa-Najjar, boosting the local contender into the national spotlight.


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POLL SHOWS CAMPA-NAJJAR AND REP. HUNTER IN CLOSE CONTENTION; DEMOCRAT BEATS HUNTER IN FUNDRAISING AND HIRES NATIONAL CAMPAIGN STRATEGIST JOE TRIPPI

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

August 1, 2018 (San Diego’s East County) — Republican Congressman Duncan D. Hunter may be facing the toughest challenge of his career. His Democratic opponent, Ammar Campa-Najjar, has raised over a million dollars, more than the $848,000 raised by Hunter as of  June 30th. 

Campa-Najjar has hired prominent national campaign strategist Joe Trippi, known for guiding upset wins even in conservative Congressional districts. Plus a new poll shows the two candidates in the 50th Congressional district in a dead heat among likely voters who reviewed ballot statements on both Campa-Najjar and Hunter.


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CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE TO ATTEND MEET & GREET AUG. 25 HOSTED BY ALPINE RESIDENT

 

 

 

East County News Service

 

July 31, 2018 (Alpine) – Congressional candidate Ammar Campa-Najjar will be at a meet and greet open to the public at the Alpine Community Center on August 25th from 1 to 3 p.m. The event is hosted by Alpine resident Anne Craig-Tillmond. 


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CAMPA-NAJJAR HEADS TO RUN-OFF AGAINST HUNTER

 

 

 

Update June 6, 2018 9 a.m. -- According to the California Secretary of State, with 100% of precincts counted but not late mail-ins or provisionals, the results are: Duncan Hunter 48.7%, Ammar Campa-Najjar 16.3%, Bill Wells 13.1%, Josh Butner 12.1%, Patrick Malloy 6.0%, Shamus Sayed 2.1%, and Richard Kahle 1.1%.  The finish order for candidates was the same in both San Diego and Riverside County, with only late mail-in and provisionals yet to be tallied.

Campa-Najjar, who appears headed to the November run-off against Hunter, previously did an interview with ECM . Hear the interview and read highlights here: http://www.eastcountymagazine.org/hear-our-interview-ammar-campa-najjar-...

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Ammar Campa-Najjar supporters. by Jonathan Goetz

June 5, 2018 (San Diego's East County) -- Beleaguered Republican Congressman Duncan Hunter could be in trouble come the November election.  Currently under  criminal investigation for allegedly spending lavish amounts of campaign funds for personal use, he currently has less than half the vote in the primary race.

With 15.3% of precincts tallied, Hunter has 47.62% of the vote.  The big question is who will advance to the top-two run-off election in November. Presently, Democrats Ammar Campa-Najjar, a former Obama administration labor official, and retired Navy Seal Josh Butner are in second and third place with 15.45% and 13.79% respectively, followed closely by El Cajon Mayor  Bill Wells at 13.42%.  Democrat Patrick Malloy has a 6.36% and Shamus Sayed 2.04%.


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HIT PIECE MAILER BY BUTNER CAMPAIGN SLURS CAMPA-NAJJAR WITH FALSE CLAIMS IN CONGRESSIONAL RACE

 

Hear our interviews with 4 candidates in the race on their immigration views

By Miriam Raftery

May 30, 2018 (San Diego’s East County) – A campaign mailer sent by 50th Congressional candidate Josh Butner, a Republican-turned-Democrat, to voters contained false smears against his opponent, Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar.  KPBS reports that Butner’s mailer distorted Campa-Najjar’s stances on immigration, falsely claiming he’s defended Trump’s Muslim ban.

It also has a photo taken before Donald Trump’s presidency, when Campa-Najjar says was working with the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, to falsely position Campa-Najjar as a Trump supporter when in fact, he has been a vocal opponent of a wide range of Trump’s policies.


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CARL DEMAIO CHANGES PLANS, WON'T RUN AGAINST HUNTER

 

 

Update March 9, 2018:  Carl DeMaio announced that he won't be turning in papers by the filing deadline today to run against Rep. Duncan Hunter. In an e-mail to supporters, he wrote, “While I, too, am frustrated with the lack of results and the double-standards for Washington politicians, I believe the Gas Tax Repeal Initiative campaign and our plans for subsequent reform initiatives in California are so much more important,” Times of San Diego reports.

By Miriam Raftery

March 8, 2018 (San Diego) – Former San Diego Councilman Carl DeMaio has pulled papers to run in the 50th Congressional District currently represented by fellow Republican Duncan D. Hunter. 

DeMaio served one term on the Council from 2008 to 2012.  He has previously run for mayor and lost to Bob Filner. He also ran for Congress previously but was defeated by Scott Peters, who currently serves in the 52nd District.


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ZELT DROPS OUT, ENDORSES BILL WELLS IN RACE AGAINST HUNTER

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 8, 2018 (San Diego) – Andrew Zelt, a sergeant at the Sheriff’s Department, has withdrawn from the 50th Congressional District race and endorsed El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells.  On his Facebook page yesterday, Zelt posted this announcement:


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STATE DEMOCRATIC PARTY ENDORSES CAMPA-NAJJAR AND ELIA IN KEY EAST COUNTY RACES; DECLINES TO ENDORSE IN TOP STATEWIDE CONTESTS

STATE DEMOCRATIC PARTY ENDORSES CAMPA-NAJJAR AND ELIA IN KEY EAST COUNTY RACES; DECLINES TO ENDORSE IN TOP STATEWIDE CONTESTS

By Miriam Raftery

February 26, 2018 (San Diego’s East County) – At the California Democratic Convention held in San Diego over the weekend, an overwhelming 97 percent of delegates voted to endorse Ammar Campa-Najjar in the June primary race for the 50th Congressional District seat held by Congressman Duncan Hunter.  Campa-Najjar, a former Labor Department official with many local Democratic club endorsements, won the endorsement over former Navy Seal Josh Butner.

In other local Congressional races, the party endorsed incumbents Susan Davis, Juan Vargas and Scott Peters, but failed to reach consensus in an endorsement in the hotly contested 49th Congressional district seat left open by the retirement of Darrell Issa.

The state party also officially endorsed James Elia, who is running for the East County Assembly seat held by Republican Randy Voepel, as well as endorsing incumbents Shirley Weber and Ben Hueso in East County’s state Senate seats up for reelection in 2018.

The party decided to remain neutral, however, issuing no endorsement in several prominent statewide races including Governor, Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General as well as U.S. Senate.

That decision came as a rebuke to long-serving Senator Dianne Feinstein, who has served in the Senate for 25 years but now faces a challenge from Kevin De Leon, a state Senator from Los Angeles.  Critics contend that Feinstein hasn’t stood up forcefully enough against President Donald Trump’s policies, though as a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee she posed tough questions in the Trump Russia probe and has been a leading voice calling for restoring the assault weapons ban that she authored, which Congress allowed to expire. De Leon had sought to win endorsement, a rarity against an incumbent, but fell short of the 60 percent required.

With Governor Jerry Brown stepping down due to term limits, the gubernatorial primary race on the Democratic side of the aisle pits Gavin Newsom, current Lieutenant Governor and former San Francisco Mayor, against State Treasurer John Chiang, Assembly Speaker and former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, and Delaine Eastin, former Assembly member and past Superintendent of Public Instruction. For details on these candidates as well as Republican contenders, see http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-ca-california-governor-list-2018-htmlstory.html.

The Lieutenant Governor seat is also open. Delegates gave 42 percent of votes to State Senator Ed Hernandez of Azusu and 41 percent to former Ambassador Eleni Kounalakis, with neither getting enough for a pre-primary endorsement.

State Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones is termed out of that office and is running for Attorney General against incumbent Xavier Becerra.  Jones got 56 percent to Becerra’s 42 percent, but still not enough to reach the 60 percent threshold required for a state party endorsement.

The party did issue these endorsements for other statewide offices:

Secretary of State: Alex Padilla

Treasurer: Fiona Ma

Controller: Betty Yee

Superintendent of Public Instruction: Tony Thurmond

 

 

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left: Ammar Campa-Najjar with supporters at state Democratic convention, via his Facebook page

February 26, 2018 (San Diego’s East County) – At the California Democratic Convention held in San Diego over the weekend, an overwhelming 97 percent of delegates voted to endorse Ammar Campa-Najjar in the June primary race for the 50th Congressional District seat held by Congressman Duncan Hunter.  Campa-Najjar, a former Labor Department official with many local Democratic club endorsements, won the endorsement over former Navy Seal Josh Butner. 

Campa-Najjar, Butner and other contenders will face El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells, a Republican, as well as embattled Congressman Hunter and potentially other challenges, with the filing deadling fast appraoching on March 9th. Hunter is viewed as vulnerable by many political experts due to the federal criminal investigation into allegations of misusing campaign funds for personal use and other controversies.


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CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE RESPONDS TO NEWS STORY ON ANCESTOR'S ALLEGED ACTIONS, AFFIRMS SUPPORT FOR PEACE IN MIDEAST

 

By Miriam Raftery

February 23, 2018 (San Diego) – Few family trees are without some bad apples.  But should the actions of an ancestor you never met haunt you if you decide to seek public office?

Ammar Campa-Najjar was born in America to a Catholic mother of Mexican descent and a Palestinian Muslim father. Now a Democratic candidate for Congress running for Rep. Duncan D. Hunter’s seat, his platform includes calling for a lasting peace in the Middle East that respects both Israelis and Palestinians.  

This week, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz ran a story headlined, Grandson of Munich Massacre Terrorist is Running For Congress – Sounding a Peaceful Tone on Israel. The story claims that Campa-Najjar’s grandfather was in the terrorist organization Black September that was responsible for killing Israeli Olympic competitors in Munich, and was later killed by Israeli security forces.

The newspaper also acknowledges that Campa-Najjar has rejected violence and won endorsements from San Diego rabbis,“winning praise from members of the local Jewish community for his moderate positions on the Israeli-Palestinian issue.”


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CAMPA-NAJJAR WINS KEY DEMOCRATIC PARTY ENDORSEMENT IN 50TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT

 

East County News Service

January 28, 2018 (San Diego) -- The California Democratic Party's Region 18 this week endorsed Ammar Campa-Najjar for Congress in the 50th district at its pre-endorsement conference, which included delegates from East County and San Diego. 

Campa-Najjar received 97% of the delegate vote in a four-way contest with candidate Josh Butner and potential candidates Patrick Malloy and Larry Tract. Since Campa-Najjar exceeded the threshold of 70% of the vote, the party's state convention is expected to ratify the region's recommendation on February 25th, which would give a major boost to Campa-Najjar in his effort to win the June primary and square off against incumbent Republican Congressman Duncan Hunter in November.

"I am humbled to have earned this endorsement by such a wide margin," said Campa-Najjar, who has raised over half a million dollars to date for his campaign.  He adds that during his campaign, he has been meeting people across the district at farms and rodeos, bars and diners, churches, mosques, synagogues, college campuses and senior centers, VFW halls and memorials, libraries, city halls, rallies, backyards, living rooms and dining rooms.


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