SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Despite being under federal indictment for alleged misuse of campaign funds, Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Alpine, was on pace Wednesday for re-election, holding off a challenge from Democratic candidate Ammar Campa-Najjar.
With about 68 percent of precincts reporting from Tuesday's election, Hunter had about 54 percent of the vote, compared to about 46 percent for Campa-Najjar.
In a statement released Wednesday morning, Hunter said:
“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."
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 maintained a polling lead over Campa-Najjar, a small business owner, for most of September and October.
The 50th Congressional District includes parts of Riverside County and San Diego County, including San Marcos and Escondido.
Despite his win, Hunter's lead dwindled from 15 percentage points in a late September poll from Monmouth University to just three points in an Oct. 25-29 poll from 10News/San Diego Union-Tribune.
Hunter's campaign released a much-debated TV ad 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 called Campa-Najjar a security risk, despite the fact he served as a White House staffer during the Obama administration.
There are currently 139,636 registered Republicans in the 50th district compared to 94,699 registered Democrats, according to the Registrar of Voters.
Hunter, a former U.S. Marine and 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.