Part 2: Dems Vie to Challenge Hunter in 50th

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This is the second of a two part series highlighting the democratic challengers in the 50th Congressional District.

Last month we featured three of the six candidates, and in this edition we feature the other three.     This is the second of a two part series highlighting the democratic challengers in the 50th Congressional District. Last month we featured three of the six candidates, and in this edition we feature the other three. Democrats are salivating for the chance to challenge Duncan Hunter, the embattled republican incumbent in the 50th Congressional District. With the primary election less than a year away, six motivated democrats are maneuvering to gather support from the party faithful as well as disenchanted independents and republicans.

Hunter’s latest hurdle came in March, when the Justice Department announced an investigation into possible campaign violations. That comes on top of earlier allegations into Hunter improperly using thousands of dollars in campaign funds for personal use, prompting an investigation by the House Ethics Panel. That investigation was recently turned over to the FBI.

A San Diego Union Tribune article reported that the ethics report said Hunter “may have converted tens of thousands of dollars of campaign funds…to personal use to pay for family travel, flights, utilities, healthcare, school uniforms and tuition, jewelry, groceries and other goods, services and expenses.”

Other questions have been raised about “unusual spending by Hunter’s campaign, including flying the family rabbit on a plane and payments to nail salons, his children’s private school and a Phoenix resort,” according to the article.

In May, a group of citizens from East County banded together to raise funds for an anti-Hunter billboard to be placed near his office in El Cajon. The billboard would read, “Shame on Rep. Duncan Hunter for being under criminal investigation.”

Democrats face an uphill battle in the 50th, which encompasses generally conservative suburban and outlying areas of the county, including Fallbrook, San Marcos, Valley Center, Ramona, Escondido, Santee, Lakeside, parts of El Cajon and mountain and desert areas stretching east to the Imperial County line. It extends slightly into southwestern Riverside County in the Temecula area. Republicans claim 60% of the registered voters.

As a strong and early supporter of President Trump, Hunter takes traditional right-wing stances on issues. He is fervently anti-abortion, opposes any form of gun safety legislation, favors lowering taxes on the rich, wants to eliminate social security as it now exists, supports increased privatization and charter school spending by taxpayers, voted for TrumpCare which would wrest health coverage from 23 million Americans (according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office), approves of gutting environmental programs while increasing military spending, and he echoes Trump’s cries for a border wall with Mexico.

Hunter is now serving in his fifth two-year term, having first been elected in 2008 after his father, with the same name, had been a long-time incumbent. In November Hunter defeated democrat Patrick Malloy 63.5% to 36.5%. Malloy is again throwing his hat into the race.     Democrats vying in the 2018 primary are Glenn Jensen, Pierre Beauregard, Gloria Chadwick, Josh Butner, Ammar Campa-Najjar, and Malloy. Last month we focused on the first three, and in this issue, Alianza will feature the final three.

Josh Butner

48 years old
Lieutenant Commander, United States Navy SEAL (RET),Military and Professional Business Line Manager, Aqua Lung, and Trustee, Jamul Dulzura Union School BoardLives in Jamul
Education: BS, Workforce Education and Development SIUC, MS Defense Analysis Special Operations Low Intensity Conflict Naval Postgraduate School, MS National Security Affairs Naval War College

Family: “Three wonderful kids. Oldest son is currently serving in the Navy, middle son graduated from film school in San Francisco, and youngest daughter is currently studying Philosophy and Poetry at UC Santa Cruz.”

Why are you running for Congress?
I feel an intense obligation to serve this country. I come from a long line of men and women thatproudly served in uniform dating all the way back to the Civil War. Growing up, the principles of service, country, and leadership were instilled in me. That was why I spent 23 years serving anddefending my country in the United States Navy and the SEAL Teams. When you have multiple friends that have given their lives to defend our freedoms, I’m compelled to continue a life of service that I hope my fallen brothers would be proud of. We must instill the fundamental American values of honesty and hard work back into our government. Too many in Washington are representing the special interests, not the will of the people. It’s time to take our country back.

What are your two most important domestic issues/priorities?
My first priority is to support our hard working Americans, we need to invest in innovation and create long-term economic opportunities. This can happen by supporting small businesses while also investing in our education and our infrastructure. Moreover, I want to protect critical priorities – like Social Security and Medicare. Seniors have paid into it every paycheck. They’ve earned it. We’ve got to protect it from those in Washington who would try to privatize it. We’ve also got to protect it by rooting out wasteful spending programs and closing special tax loopholes for the Washington special interests.

What are your two most important foreign policy issues/priorities?
Our greatest foreign policy concern is homeland security — the manner in which we prosecute thebattle with ISIS and other violent radical Islamic extremist non-state actors and those that hijackany religion for justification of violence. Our choice in the manner in which we prosecute this war of ideas, of which we must prevail, is of the greatest concern.

Secondly, we must always be prepared for, and strategically act in ways that deter nations from using force, conventional and unconventional, against the U.S., our allies, and weaker nations striving to join the community of nations in the spirit of the Treaty of Westphalia, which spelled out national sovereignty and is the basis for modern international law among nations post WorldWar II. This hard fought world order is of strategic national importance to the United States andour allies.

What is the most serious threat currently facing the US?
In addition to our most pressing threats posed by ISIS, China, Russia, and North Korea I feel there is an existential threat to our Democracy and our way of life that is rising at an exponential rate. This threat is economic inequality. In 2010 economists worried that 50% of the world’s wealth was being concentrated in the top 1% of the world’s population. A short 7 years later finds that the top 1% of the world’s population now holds 99% of the world’s wealth. We’ve got to grow an economy that works for all of us, not just the special interests. That means providing greater education and economic opportunity to make it easier to make it into the middle class and give our kids a chance at an even better life than we had.

What is your position on taxpayer dollars for vouchers/private/religious schools?
As a member of the Jamul-Dulzura school board, I am a strong advocate for public education on the front lines and I’m all too aware of the lack of priority paid to properly funding our schools.The recent budget passed by the Republican Congress guts public education funding. Worse,Washington politicians introduced a bill in February that would repeal the 1965 elementary and secondary education act that guarantees free and equitable public education for all. Their continued promotion of a national voucher program seeks to end public education as we know it.

The best way to grow our economy is to invest in our schools and that will be among my very top priorities in Congress.

What is your plan to defeat incumbent Hunter?
People from all across this district, from all walks of life, have been supporting my campaign.
They’re tired of Washington politicians like Congressman Hunter who put personal profit and special interest politics, ahead of people. Everywhere I go, the message is clear. We need change, now more than ever — to hold out of touch Washington politicians like Duncan Hunter accountable. It’s a movement that is bigger than any one person — and that’s why I’m running a grassroots campaign for Congress today.
Why should Democrats vote for you in the primary?
I’ll let the people of California’s 50th Congressional District decide what that difference is between us. But if you look at who we are and how we’ve lived our lives, it comes down to this; a career politician looking out for personal profit and special interest politics, versus a citizen who is fed up and thinks we need someone in Congress who will stand up for people for a change.

Washington is broken and working families continue to struggle. We need someone who will champion our country’s fundamental values to put people first.

Ammar Campa-Najjar

28 years old

Currently: Small business owner, ACN Strategies.
Previously: Public Affairs Officer- US Department of Labor; Director of Communications and Strategy- United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce/USHCC; Deputy Regional Field Director- Organizing for America (Obama/Biden 2012)   Lives in Jamul
Education: Dual Degrees: B.A. Philosophy & Psychology

Why are you running for Congress? 

I’m running for the over 730,000 residents of the 50th district, who deserve committed, qualified, and forward thinking representation in Congress. After coming home from working in the Department of Labor in DC, I saw that folks here weren’t being represented in a way that best served them. I thought about how I could give back to the people who had sent me to DC in the first place. After deep consideration and long conversations, Congress became the most effective way for me to serve this community.

What are your two most important domestic issues/priorities? 
Three words: Jobs and Healthcare. Everyone deserves an opportunity to earn and secure a well-paying job. To get there we need to invest in skills training and apprenticeship programs in high growth sectors, while opposing trade deals that hurt the American worker. Everyone also deserves to be healthy and not be an illness away from financial ruin. We need to provide healthcare that is accessible and affordable by expanding Medicare. If elected, I’ll propose a bill to do so.

What are your two most important foreign policy issues/priorities? 
The two most pressing foreign policy priorities are immigration and climate change. In an ever changing world, we must create immigration policies that strike a balance between the security of our borders and our place on the global stage as a welcoming center of innovation and a refuge for the oppressed. Climate change is an issue that affects all people everywhere and one country cannot fix it alone. Rising tides flood all coasts and therefore we must work together with our international partners to solve this global crisis.

What is the most serious threat currently facing the US? 
Climate change, definitely. Combating climate change is the defining task of our time. It is not just an environmental issue; it is a singular problem that encompasses a multitude of issues. From healthcare, to immigration, and even national security, we can’t fully address these problems without fixing the effect climate change plays in them. We have only one planet and to provide for a better future, we must care for its well being. And in the solution to climate change, we will find new innovations, growing industries, which all add up to better paying jobs and a stronger economy.

What is your position on taxpayer dollars for vouchers/private/religious schools? 
If we want to continue to excel and innovate in tomorrow’s global economy, we need to invest in our children and ensure that a world class education is within their reach. To build on that promise, public money should go to public schools. Public money should go towards buying new books; building better facilities; and paying our teachers, instead of being siphoned off to places with other means of revenue.

What is your plan to defeat incumbent Hunter? 
Beyond running a smart and robust campaign, I aim to run a compassionate campaign. People vote for whom they trust. And I intend to earn that trust one person at a time by traveling across this district to hear their challenges and how I can best serve them. From the living rooms in El Cajon, to the town halls of San Marcos, and even a Lakeside rodeo, I’ve gone to meet people where they are in order to hear what they need. Trust wins elections. And building that trust with the residents of the 50th is how I intend to win.

Why should democrats vote for you in the primary? 
Democrats should vote for me for the same reason Republicans and Independents in the 50th should vote for me: experience and a track record to deliver. From community organizing for a presidential campaign, serving in the White House, to advocating for small businesses and working on behalf of our veterans, I’ve learned that representation isn’t about taking sides, it’s about listening to our community and leading with our values.

Patrick Malloy

50 years old
Current and former Realtor, Small Business Owner
Has lived in Escondido, 8+ years
Education: American University, Washington, D.C.
Married

Why are you running for Congress? 
To represent all of the 730,000 people in our District, and focus on Middle Class life, for those of us in it, barely in it, and especially for those of us who aspire to become part of the Middle Class.

What are your two most important domestic issues/priorities? 
Jobs, mitigating climate change and Single Payer Healthcare for All to put more disposable income in you and your neighbor’s pocket, not the insurance industries’.

What are your two most important foreign policy issues/priorities? 
Stay out of the Middle East– we’ve got problems of our own right here; that takes priority. Develop renewable energy technology and subsidize its installation here residentially and commercially to wean ourselves off of foreign oil and the problems associated with fighting wars to protect it.

What is the most serious threat currently facing the US? 
We turn to our Legislative Branch for Checks and Balances, and there’s nobody home– the combination of no term limits on a US Representative and Citizens United owning them or threatening to fund a primary against them, have created a climate where Representatives get comfortable and don’t take risks.

Over half our district does not vote. I’m running to be your Representative in Congress, your Checks and Balances against a corrupt system that favors the rich at the expense of the Poor and the Middle Class.

What is your position on taxpayer dollars for vouchers/private/religious schools? 
I stand for Public Funds for Public Schools, including Vocational Training within K-12. Learning a Trade is a gateway to the American dream of being your own boss, hiring others and building your community one job at a time.

What is your plan to defeat incumbent Hunter? 
I focus on what voters are going to get with a Rep. Malloy, not the failings of the Incumbent. My plan is to carry on, meeting people, shaking hands, asking what their top concern is, and responding to it with my platform. I truly believe that I can represent this District by bolstering the Middle Class, and Small Business.Why should democrats vote for you in the primary? I have the best chance of winning with your vote. Over 103,000 people filled in the oval next to my name during the last election. No one has received more votes, nor a larger percentage of the vote since the re-districting.

In this district, whether in a Special Election, or a Mid-term Election 103,000 voters who come back out to vote again for the same person as before will be enough votes to carry the district. Why break something that is set to achieve? Stay the course in the Mid-terms and you will have a new Representative.  If I haven’t asked you directly for your vote, I’m asking you now: Please vote for Patrick Malloy, I will not let you down. It would be the honor of a lifetime to serve your best interests in Washington, D.C. and fight for every dollar you give Uncle Sam to come back to you in the form of Jobs for your District, and peace for your Country.

Why do you think you can win this time? 
The Hunter Dynasty has embedded itself in the district since the 1980s. Others like Francine Busby have run several consecutive times. I’ve done as well as she, and she did it with $3M. Applegate is running again, as well; these races require name recognition, and I’ve built that. It takes more than one race to achieve a win in Riverside and San Diego Counties. In my Primary race I prevailed over 5 qualified candidates including a write in, and an Air Calvary Vietnam Veteran. We’re not going to “Applegate this district.” No one knew that Issa served and that helped Col. Applegate. On the other hand everyone knows that Hunter is a combat veteran. I’ve proved by defeating an Air Calvary Vietnam Veteran in the Primary and facing him in the General Election, getting more votes than anyone else has in this district since the redistricting that I am a solid choice for your vote, and I’m asking you for it, humbly and respectfully now.

Rick Mercurio is Alianza North County’s Lead Reporter.

 

 

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