By Miriam Raftery
Photo: Rep. Duncan Hunter and challengers Ammar Campa-Najjar and Josh Butner
October 17, 2017 (San Diego) -- The latest campaign fundraising data available through the Federal Elections Commission revealsthat two strong Democratic challengers to Republican Congressman Duncan Hunter, at least from a financial standpoint, have emerged in the 50th Congressional district: Ammar Campa-Najjar and Josh Butner.
The two Democratic front-runners also show dramatically different fundraising patterns. Hunter got the majority of his funds from Political Action Committees, or special interest PACs. By contrast, Campa-Najjar has received 100 percent of his money from individuals and Butner has received less than 5 percent of his funds from PACs.
Campa-Najjar, a small business owner, former U.S. Labor Department official and past Hispanic Chamber of Commerce representative, has raised over $343,000 dollars. Josh Butner, a retired Navy Seal and elected member of the Jamul-Dulzura School Board, has raised about $316,000.
Hunter, the incumbent whose record has been tarnished by a current investigation by the U.S. Justice Department into allegations that he spent lavish campaign funds on personal use, has raised over $410,000, but has only reportedly spent significant campaign funds on his legal defense. He currently has approximately $504,000 in cash on hand but also has run up over $148,000 in debt.
No other candidate has raised more than double digits on the campaign trails.
Democrat Pierre “Pete” Beauregard, a rancher and former military medic, has raised $23,161. Patrick Malloy, a realtor and Democrat who ran unsuccessfully in the last election, has a paltry $347.
Three Democratic contenders who participated in candidate forums earlier this year, Gloria Chadwick, Glenn Jensen and Hannah Gbeh, have dropped out or suspended their campaigns. Jensen has advised ECM he has suspended his candidacy due to his wife suffering serious injuries in a vehicle accident, and says he has returned all donations received, which were under the federal reporting threshold.
Republican challengers Andrew Zelt, a Sheriff sergeant, and Shamus Sayed, a translation services company owner, have raised less than the minimum required for reporting to the FEC.