SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- Candidates vying for the a seat in the 50th Congressional District reacted Monday to news that Rep. Duncan Hunter is set to change his plea to guilty in a campaign finance case.
Documents show that Hunter is scheduled to appear in court Tuesday at 10 a.m. for a "change of plea hearing."
Hunter said he would plead guilty to one count of misusing campaign funds in an interview with San Diego TV station KUSI.
"My trial was set for January 22 -- that's not going to happen now. Tomorrow, on Tuesday, I'm going to change my plea to guilty. I think it's important not to have a public trial for three reasons, and those three reasons are my kids ... It's been a privilege to serve in Congress for 11 years, three tours in the Marine Corps in the wars. I think we've done a lot of great things for the nation."
"I think it's important for people to know that I did make mistakes. I did not properly monitor or account for my campaign money. I justify that plea with the understanding that I am responsible for my campaign and what happens to my campaign money," Hunter told KUSI's Steve Bosh.
Margaret Hunter pleaded guilty in June 2019 and agreed to testify against her husband.
Read through the statements below:
Darrell Issa, who has entered the race for the 50th Congressional District, released the following statement:
“As a friend and a colleague, I thank Duncan Hunter for his service to our country in the Marine Corps and in Congress, where he has always been a strong conservative voice on behalf of his constituents. Though his misuse of campaign funds was clearly wrong, I wish him and his family the best as they address the matters ahead of them.” - Darrell Issa
Carl DeMaio, who’s also in the running for the seat, released the below statement:
“While this must have been a tough decision for him, Congressman Hunter’s decision to plead guilty is the right one for his family and his constituents and shows that no one should be above the law - especially Members of Congress. My thoughts and prayers are with the Hunter family as they go through this difficult process.”
Ammar Campa-Najjar's campaign also released the following statement:
"Today is a sad day for this district because no constituent hopes to see their congressman plead guilty to corruption. But today is also a day filled with opportunity because it’s the first time in years people, not political scandals, will come first again. Right now, we need a bi-partisan local leader to restore integrity, the public trust and bring people together to deliver results. I’m going to take a fresh independent approach to fight for affordable housing, healthcare, education, wildfire relief and prevention, and infrastructure reform. On day one I will focus on the same working folks who are funding my campaign and not for the corporate special interests in D.C. who own Congress or bankrolling the career politicians in this race who aren’t from here and don’t know the first thing about the struggles of the East County families I grew up with. My thoughts are with Major Hunter and his family, I want to thank him for serving our country."
Meanwhile, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee also responded Monday.
“Voters across this country are calling for a change from Washington's culture of corruption and Rep. Duncan Hunter’s admission of guilt is a fitting reminder that at least two admitted criminals have called the Republican House Caucus in Washington home for years. While the Great California Crook-Off in CA-50 may now have one less corrupt Republican running, the Washington GOP will have to choose which one of the remaining crooks running for Congress they will want to line up behind – Issa or DeMaio," the DCCC said.