Hunter poll watchers slow down vote count

San Diego County election workers count ballots on Saturday, Nov. 10/Flo Gascon

Reports from the San Diego Registrar of Voters Saturday said Duncan Hunter poll watchers had begun challenging virtually every ballot with a Spanish-sounding surname being counted, slowing the vote count.

Vote “observers” working on behalf of Hunter’s campaign were challenging ballots based on the contention they were not from US citizens and signatures didn’t match registration forms, according to reports.

Many of the pro-Hunter “volunteer monitors” who showed up Saturday appeared to be members of the racist Combat Veterans for Congress group, which put forth totally discredited racist attacks on Hunter’s opponent Ammar Campa-Najjar in the last stages of the campaign.

Those attacks were denounced nationally as racist lies with 70 current, or former, national security and foreign policy officials signing a letter condemning Hunter’s subsequent campaign ad attempting to link Campa-Najjar to radical Islamists.

Joseph R. John, chairman and director of the racist veterans group, on Thursday, Nov. 13 posted “Request Volunteers to Ensure Mailed In Ballots Are From US Citizens,” saying, “The election campaigns of many residents of San Diego County running for office, including Cong Duncan Hunter’s re-election campaign, needs concerned American Citizen volunteers to verify the validity of mail-in ballots.”

John said: “Unfortunately, Tony Krvaric, Chairman of the San Diego County Central Committee, has not engaged attorneys nor mobilized volunteers to monitor the inspection of ballots like Republican Parties are doing across the entire nation.  The San Diego Republican Party has $600,000.00 in the treasury and can easily afford to engage attorneys to monitor the inspection of ballots to ensure they have been submitted by US Citizens.”

With an estimated 175,000 San Diego County mail-in and provisional votes to be counted, Hunter’s 9 percentage point Election Day lead has dropped steadily since the Nov. 6 election. It was down to 5 points on Saturday, Nov. 17.

“The game plan for supporters of Duncan Hunter are to challenge the signatures and slow the process down,” said Benjamin Martinez, a vote count observer for Paul “Mac” McNamara, who surged to a 550 lead over incumbent Sam Abed in Escondido’s mayoral race Friday.

“I find Duncan Hunter supporters at this point to be pathetic,” Martinez said in a Facebook video posted below. “Most of the signatures they are challenging are Latino…and provisional ballots from El Cajon, Jamul, Alpine and Escondido. I saw more Hunter supporters today trying to suppress the vote than Hunter supporters knocking on doors (campaigning).”

Registrar Michael Vu’s hardy band of poll workers continued to plow through the counting that had been averaging about 30,000 ballots a day with around 199,000 left to count as of the weekend. Updated results weren’t scheduled to be released until Monday.

Ballot counting was taking place from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. daily at the Registrar of Voters office, 5600 Overland Ave., San Diego. Election officials have until Dec. 7 to finish the count.

Although Hunter was called the winner in the California 50th Congressional District last week based on a strong lead, his lead over challenger Ammar Campa-Najjar has been shrinking steadily as mail-in and provisional ballots have been counted.

As of Saturday, Nov. 17, Hunter had 113,376 votes, or 52.53 percent, to Campa-Najjar’s 102,440 votes, or 47.47 percent; a lead of 10,936 votes. However, Campa-Najjar has performed slightly better in San Diego County than the overall total and slightly worse in Riverside County, where about 10 percent of district voters reside.

County election workers have until Dec. 7 to finish the vote count/Flo Gascon

Campa-Najjar has not conceded the race. Hunter declared victory Wednesday, Nov. 7, saying, “I intend to make it business-as-usual in working with President Trump for the next two years to achieve more success,”

Under federal criminal indictment, along with his wife Margaret Hunter, the 10-year congressman has been charged with 60 counts in a 47-page document involving the alleged misuse of $250,000 in campaign funds dating from one year after he first assumed office to just before the 2016 election.

Atfter news reports started revealing the apparently personal use of campaign funds, Hunter suddenly mortgaged his house for a third time, then repaid $60,000 just before the 2016 election, citing his wife’s confusion of credit card colors.

Hunter has continued taking in campaign dollars, although the totals have shrunk to nearly nil, using them to pay his criminal defense attorneys. For various coverage of Hunter’s many ethical and legal issues visit, “Duncan Hunter is a man on the brink,Duncan Hunter JR.has-been who never was,” and “Hunter, wife indicted for campaign fraud.”

During the 2018 campaign, Hunter’s lead in California’s reddest district — featuring a an electorate of 154,163 Republican-registered and 103,009 Democratic-registered voters — shrank from 32 points in the June 6 jungle primary to a 9 point lead on Nov. 6. That had dropped to 5 points by Saturday.

Hunter held only one public-ish campaign event at the Mexican border during the 2018 general election to talk about “The Caravan” and two invitation-only events at private locations. He refused to debate Campa-Najjar or appear before non-partisan audiences.

With practically all his campaign money going to criminal defense attorneys, Hunter still managed to generate national publicity with an Internet ad accusing the Christian Campa-Najjar of being a Muslim terrorist trying to infiltrate Congress, and whose grandfather was a Palestinian terrorist. Campa-Najjar’s grandfather died prior to Campa Najjar’s birth.

Hunter’s baseless smear was called out nationally for being a racist lie. For more, visit “John Oliver calls out criminal grifter Hunter.”

“First, they tried to muddy the waters saying that Ammar is something that he is not,” Martinez said, “and now that they’re counting the votes, they are fairly aggressive challenging most of the signatures that are Latino.”

As for the sudden attention to individual ballots, it may be racism, may be concern; only time will tell.

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