LAST UPDATED: November 7, 2018 at 12:40 p.m.
LOS ANGELES (NEWS 8/AP) — California Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter has won a sixth term despite facing federal corruption charges.
Hunter beat first-time Democratic candidate Ammar Campa-Najjar on Wednesday in a deeply red San Diego-area district.
With 100 percent of the votes counted, the GOP incumbent finished with an 8-point lead over Campa-Najjar.
Few incumbents in U.S. history have been re-elected while indicted and the race was considered a fresh test of partisanship during the era of President Donald Trump.
Campa-Najjar, a 29-year-old former Obama White House aide, was largely unknown until the race drew wide attention when Hunter and his wife were indicted in August.
The couple has pleaded not guilty to allegations of illegally spending more than $250,000 in campaign money for personal expenses — from family trips to tequila shots.
Congressman Duncan Hunter made the following statement:
"The voters of California's 50th Congressional District have once again made it clear that their issues and priorities are consistent with my issues and priorities as their Representative in Congress. This election reflects what is important to us here in San Diego and Riverside Counties, issues on which President Trump has had success, but understanding that there is undoubtedly more work to be done. For 10 years, I have consistently and unapologetically focused on rebuilding the military, protecting the border, which includes a border wall, cutting taxes, supporting our veterans, creating small business jobs and economic development, upholding the 2nd Amendment and protecting the sanctity of life. I am proud of this record and I intend to make it business-as-usual in working with President Trump for the next two years to achieve more success, especially given the challenge of having a Democrat-led House. I thank my constituents for their continued trust and support and I am grateful and honored for the opportunity to continue serving them in Congress."
Congressman Hunter celebrated his victory Tuesday evening with a large team of supporters throughout the district who worked hard for his re-election.
LAST UPDATED: 9:45 p.m.
(AP) — Embattled Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter leads his opponent in early returns despite facing federal corruption charges.
Hunter has 54 percent of the vote Tuesday over Democratic candidate Ammar Campa-Najjar with more than 90,000 votes counted in the deeply red San Diego-area district.
Hunter is trying to be one of few incumbents in U.S. history to be re-elected while indicted and the race is considered a fresh test of partisanship during the era of President Donald Trump.
Hunter and his wife have pleaded not guilty to allegations of illegally spending more than $250,000 in campaign funds on personal expenses from tequila shots to family trips.
Campa-Najjar, a former Obama administration official, was largely unknown before the charges in the district where Hunter succeeded his father in office 10 years ago.
LAST UPDATED: 8:30 p.m.
Rep. Duncan Hunter leads in early results.
SAN DIEGO (CNS) - While San Diego County features five races for the U.S. House of Representatives seats on Tuesday's ballot, the possible re-election of indicted Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Alpine, in District 50 looms large over the other four contests.
A federal grand jury indicted Hunter and his wife Margaret in August over allegations of improperly using campaign funds between 2009 and 2016 for personal expenses, such as vacations and dental bills. In spite of the indictment, Hunter has maintained a polling lead over his competitor, Democratic small business owner Ammar Campa-Najjar, for most of September and October. The district includes parts of Riverside County and San Diego County, including San Marcos and Escondido.
But while Hunter has stayed ahead of Campa-Najjar in the race, his lead has dwindled from 15 percentage points in a late September poll from Monmouth University to just three points in an Oct. 25-29 poll from SurveyUSA.
The tightening could be due to a much-debated TV ad released by Hunter's campaign in September that framed Campa-Najjar as a terrorist sympathizer and claimed he is supported by the fundamentalist Sunni Islamic extremist group the Muslim Brotherhood. The ad also calls Campa-Najjar a security risk, despite the fact he served as a White House staffer during the Obama administration.
"The people of CA-50 are proving that when we come together not as Democrats or Republicans but as Californians and Americans, we reject the tired, corrupt politics of Duncan Hunter," Campa-Najjar said in October. "The voters don't want a congressman who is going to spend time in jail."
Hunter, a former U.S. Marine and the son of former Rep. Duncan Lee Hunter, has served in Congress since 2009. Hunter first represented District 52, but redistricting after the 2010 census shifted him to the 50th District. After winning 47.4 percent in the June primary, Hunter's likelihood of re- election remains just shy of 80 percent at 78.2, according to FiveThirtyEight.
California District 49 could also flip from Republican to Democrat, with Democratic environmental lawyer Mike Levin and State Board of Equalization member Diane Harkey running to replace Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista.
Issa announced in January that he would not seek re-election after nine terms in the U.S. House of Representatives. Issa's district, which includes parts of northern San Diego County such as Oceanside, Vista, Carlsbad and Encinitas, became more competitive after redistricting due to the 2010 census, leading to Issa's near-defeat in 2016 to retired Marine Col. Doug Applegate. President Donald Trump nominated Issa to lead the U.S. Trade and Development Agency in September.
Levin has never held political office, but he has served as the executive director of the Democratic Party of Orange County. Levin has received endorsements from the Sierra Club, the San Diego Union-Tribune Editorial Board and the California Teachers Association.
Prior to sitting on the Board of Equalization, Harkey served in the state Assembly from 2008 to 2014, representing southern Orange County in District 73. She has also served on the Dana Point City Council and did a stint as mayor. Harkey received Trump's endorsement in August and is one of the San Diego region's biggest supporters of the campaign to repeal the state gas tax.
The three Democratic incumbents in San Diego County's other three districts, 51, 52 and 53, are all overwhelming favorites to be re-elected. FiveThirtyEight forecasts that District 51 Rep. Juan Vargas will win roughly 75 percent of the vote to cruise to re-election. District 52 Rep. Scott Peters and District 53 Rep. Susan Davis are both expected to receive vote percentages in the 60s.
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