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.
Hunter is accused, along with his wife, of spending a quarter million dollars in campaign funds for personal use, including lavish family vacations to Italy and Hawaii, dental bills, jewelry and more. If convicted in his trial slated to begin in September, he could be forced to resign his seat by Democrats now in control of the House of Representatives and may be sentenced to prison.
Campa-Najjar has worked for the U.S. Labor Department, where he gained experience in job creation. He’s also served as director of communications for the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. A Christian of Arabic and Latino descent, he faced negative ads run by Hunter that the Washington Post denounced as false and that critics called racist. Hear our May 2017 radio interview with Campa-Najjar: https://www.eastcountymagazine.org/sites/eastcountymagazine.org/files/audio/2017/May/Newsmaker-AmmarCamparNajir-Congressionalcandidate.mp3.
During his last campaign, he said he wanted to focus on issues that impact residents across our region including bringing jobs to East County and improving healthcare, while restoring “national pride, not national shame” as 50th Congressional district representative. He’s also called for action on climate change and investment in a sustainable economy.
Campa-Najjar heavily outspent Hunter in the 2018 campaign, drawing prominent national support to his campaign team as well as an army of local volunteers walking precincts.
At least one Republican has also announced plans to challenge Hunter in 2020. Temecula Mayor Matt Rahn, a scientist and land use consultant, has also filed papers to run, as ECM reported.
The district includes portions of San Diego and much of East County, as well as the Temecula area in south Riverside County.