Former 49th District Republican Congressman Darrell Issa’s website announced the formation of an exploratory committee to run for Rep. Duncan Hunter’s 50th District seat yesterday. Here’s the announcement:

  • I have formally launched an exploratory committee for the 50th Congressional District in California.
  • I have received such a tremendous outpouring of encouragement from supporters inside the district, and around the state and across the Nation. I’m truly grateful for the many encouraging phone calls, messages and letters that I have received.

This move certainly is not a coincidence, as–according to Roll Call–the well is going dry for Congressman Duncan Hunter’s Legal Defense fund. 

After spending nearly $700,000 on legal fees since June 2016, the latest filing with the Legislative Resource Center indicates the fund only has a few thousand dollars left.

The 50th District Representative and his wife, Margaret, were indicted in August 2018 on charges that they spent over $250,000 in campaign funds on personal expenses and falsified campaign finance records.

Margaret Hunter has inked a plea deal with the government, and is expected to testify against her husband in a trial now slated for January, 2020.

A legal defense fund is allowable according to the House Ethics Committee when legal fees arise in connection with the individual’s candidacy or election to federal office, the member’s official duties in office, a criminal prosecution or a civil matter bearing on the person’s reputation or fitness for office.

Donations to such funds are capped at $5000 per individual or organization; lobbyists and foreign agents are not allowed to contribute. Many of Hunter’s long time wealthy supporters have already contributed the maximum.

Congressman’s Hunter’s bleak financial condition casts doubt on his ability to continue to contest the government’s charges, increasing the odds of a plea bargain that would almost certainly include his resignation from the House of Representatives.

The FEC Report for the second quarter of 2020 shows Hunter’s campaign blowing through contributions. Expenses include a $448 meal at the DC Trump International Hotel.

Fundraising for campaigns thru June 30. Credit: Open Secrets

Former Congressman Issa is allowed to run in a different district even though he lives elsewhere; the law only requires that he be a resident of the State of California. He is extremely rich and was previously considered the wealthiest man in congress.

The former chairman of the House Oversight Committee  declined to run for reelection in the 49th District in 2018 after having narrowly won re-election in 2016 — by just 0.6 percentage points against Democrat candidate Doug Applegate.

Issa, with 18 years under his belt in the House was widely considered the most vulnerable incumbent in the House going into the 2018 election.

He faced weekly protests during 2017, with roughly 300 people gathering each week — and sometimes more than double that number — outside his Vista office, led by coalition of Indivisible and other activist groups…

Other declared Republican candidates for the 50th Congressional seat include: former talk show host Carl DeMaio, El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells, Temecula Mayor Matt Rahn, former Escondido Mayor Sam Abed and former U.S. Navy SEAL Larry Wilske.

Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar, who lost to Hunter in 2018, has been campaigning since the day after the last election.

Republican Hunter’s campaign has already produced materials featuring photos of Campa-Najjar, a Protestant, and Democratic Reps. Ilhan Omar (Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (Mich.) alongside an image of one of the terrorists involved in a 1972 attack on Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics.

The incumbent Congressman, who’s been stripped of all committee assignments by his GOP colleagues, is not eligible for a security clearance (due to his indictment), yet has chosen to make the Democratic’s loyalty an issue.

Via the Huffington Post:

  • Ahead of the November midterm elections last year, Hunter’s campaign released an attack ad calling rival Campa-Najjar a “security risk” with connections to Islamic terrorism. The ad falsely accused the candidate of attempting to “infiltrate” Congress and changing his name “so he sounds Hispanic” and to erase his family’s ties to terrorism. 
  • Hunter later doubled down on his attack, claiming Campa-Najjar would leak classified information on U.S. military operations if he were elected. “Would he compromise U.S. operations to protect his relatives, the Najjars?” asks a letter paid for by Hunter’s campaign and signed by three retired Marines.
  • Campa-Najjar is Palestinian-Mexican-American and worked at the White House under President Barack Obama and at the Labor Department ― both of which required him to have security clearance.

Trump’s Coming to San Diego — September 18th

Via Politico California:

  • President Donald Trump will hit one of his favorite political targets — California — with a mid-September fundraising visit to the liberal bastion of the San Francisco Bay Area, in addition to Beverly Hills and San Diego.
  • A “save the date” invite shows that the president will visit the Bay Area region on Sept. 17 for an event at an undisclosed location hosted by RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, co-chair Tommy Hicks Jr., RNC Finance Chairman Todd Ricketts and Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale.

There is no information available yet as to the timing or location of the fundraising event. As with all things Trump, this schedule is subject to change.


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