Escondido Congressman Duncan Hunter is one of only seven congressman to endorse Donald Trump. He hasn’t been bashful about that support either, even penning a Feb. 29 column for the San Diego Union Tribune touting his stance.
Needless to say, Hunter’s support has found its critics, and that’s just among Republicans. His Democratic opponent has yet to weigh in on the controversy.
The big question is how Hunter’s very vocal support will play in the district that extends from Escondido to East County and is nearly one-third Hispanic in make-up. Analysts, however, consider it one of the most conservative congressional districts in the nation.
Hunter, 40, of Alpine, has served in Congress since 2009. Prior to that his father, Duncan L Hunter served in Congress from 1981 to 2009. It doesn’t get much more Washington insider than that making Hunter and Trump somewhat strange bedfellows at first glance.
Yet, Hunter along with Chris Collins, R-NY, this February became the first two members of Congress to endorse Trump. In a New York Magazine profile published Monday, April 4, writer Gabriel Sherman said, “In recent days, Trump named a new ‘House Leadership Committee’ headed by Republicans Duncan Hunter and Chris Collins.”
“I’ve liked him for a long time,” Hunter said when announcing his endorsement. “I don’t think we need a policy wonk as president, we need a leader as president.”
Hunter under fire for Trump endorsement
Hunter already has come under fire for his endorsement, although the fire is from GOP conservatives and Cruz supporters. His expected Democratic opponent, David Secor, has yet to weigh in on the controversy.
Secor ran against Hunter in 2012, getting 83,455 votes, or about 32.3 percent of the electorate against Hunter’s 174,838 votes, or about 67.7 percent. Another Democrat, Patrick Malloy, has filed, but no information could be found on his campaign to date.
Amanda Carpenter, a well-known GOP operative and Cruz supporter featured as one of CNN’s daily pundits, said in Conservative Review, “It’s time to make a list of those so-called conservatives and Republicans endorsing Donald Trump, the megalomaniac,” adding, “Call it a blacklist, call it a blackball, call it whatever you want. I’m done with these folks and other conservatives should be, too.”
Obviously, Hunter is named on the Carpenter’s trump those Trump supporters list.
Gary Jacobsen, University of California, San Diego, political science professor considered expert in local politics, told Jim Cramer’s TheStreet recently that Hunter’s endorsement aligns with his own political persona.
“Hunter represents California’s 50th Congressional District, one of the most conservative Republican districts in the country,” Jacobsen said. “It is also located in the southern part of the state near the Mexican border.”
Jacobsen continued: “He has no worries that there are enough moderates there to desert him for a Democrat if he associates too strongly with Trump. He has been hard-nosed on immigration throughout his career, so supporting someone who is even more hard-nosed is not inconsistent with his past positions. He represents the kind of constituents that do like Trump.”
Also consulted for the article was another nationally-known political science professor, Susan MacManus of the University of South Florida. “The key is what is their goal for the endorsement?” she said. “Is it because they truly like him and his platform? Is it because they might want something in the administration should he win?”
Getting on the Trump Train
Hunter has gone all in on the Trump train. He said he loved the “wall” because it would prevent crime. He approved whatever it is that goes for Trump’s foreign policy.
Hunter penned a testimonial to all things Trump which ran in the Union Tribune under the title, “Duncan Hunter: Why I endorsed Donald Trump? ‘Backbone.’” Highlights included:
— “On national security, Trump’s message of peace through superior firepower has resonated. He too knows that America’s enemies — from al-Qaida and the Islamic State to Iran — fear the strength of the U.S. military and its vast technological edge.”
— “After eight years of Obama, America doesn’t need a policy wonk as president. America needs a leader — someone who can manage an enormous organization and make deals without compromising values or interests. Americans want someone who inspires them to think that we can be even greater than we are, and that American exceptionalism warrants no apologies.”
— “By most predictions, Trump will be the Republican nominee for president. It’s an idea not fancied by some Republicans, but they’ll need to get over it and determine what about Trump is attractive to them and what about Trump has generated so much support among voters.”
— “Trump’s support is real as a result. In the national game of politics, he’s got a winning message and the backbone to see it through. It’s exactly what Americans want in their president.”
Fast 50th Congressional District Facts
|Current incumbent||Duncan Hunter|
|Gender||51.2% Female, 48.8% Male|
|Race||81.4% White, 5.2% Asian, 2.2% Black, 1.5% Native Am.|
|Median household income||$54,971|
|High school graduation rate||83.6%|
|College graduation rate||23.7%|