Duncan D. Hunter

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Duncan D. Hunter
Duncan D. Hunter official photo.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 50th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2013
Preceded by Brian Bilbray
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 52nd district
In office
January 3, 2009 – January 3, 2013
Preceded by Duncan Hunter
Succeeded by Scott Peters
Personal details
Born Duncan Duane Hunter
(1976-12-07) December 7, 1976 (age 41)
San Diego, California, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Margaret Hunter
Children 3
Father Duncan Lee Hunter
Education San Diego State University (BS)
Website House website
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch  United States Marine Corps
Years of service 2001–2005 (Active)
2005–present (Reserve)
Rank US Marine O4 shoulderboard.svg Major
Unit 1st Battalion, 11th Marines
Battles/wars War in Afghanistan
Iraq War

Duncan Duane Hunter (born December 7, 1976) is an American politician and member of the Republican Party from California who has represented parts of San Diego County in the United States House of Representatives since 2009, representing the 52nd district from 2009 to 2013, and subsequently representing California's 50th congressional district. This district covers much of inland San Diego County, including the cities of El Cajon, Escondido, San Marcos, Santee and Temecula. Hunter inherited the congressional seat from his father, Republican Congressman Duncan Lee Hunter, who previously represented the district and decided not to seek re-election in 2008. In Congress, Hunter serves on the Armed Services, Education and the Workforce and Transportation and Infrastructure committees. In 2017 it was reported that Hunter is under criminal investigation by the Department of Justice for alleged campaign finance violations.[1][2] He is being challenged by Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar in the 2018 election.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Hunter was born in San Diego, California,[4] the son of Helynn Louise (née Layh) and former congressman Duncan Lee Hunter.[5][6] He graduated from Granite Hills High School, El Cajon, California and San Diego State University, where he earned a degree in Business Administration. He started a web design company in college. Upon graduation from San Diego State, he worked in San Diego as an information technology business analyst.[7]

Military service[edit]

The day after the September 11 attacks, Hunter quit his job and joined the United States Marine Corps. He attended Officer Candidates School at Marine Corps Base Quantico. Upon graduation in March 2002, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant. He subsequently served as a field artillery officer in the 1st Marine Division after the 2003 invasion of Iraq and completed a second tour in Fallujah, Iraq, in 2004, serving in Battery A, 1st Battalion, 11th Marines. During his second tour, he participated in Operation Vigilant Resolve.

In September 2005, Hunter was honorably discharged from active duty but remained in the Marine Corps Reserve. He then started a residential development company. In 2007, he was recalled to active duty and deployed to Afghanistan in support of the War in Afghanistan; this was his third tour of duty during the War on Terrorism. Hunter was honorably discharged from active duty in December 2007, but continues to serve in the Marine Corps Reserve.[8][9] Hunter was promoted to major in 2012.[10][11]

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

Elections[edit]

2008[edit]

On March 20, 2007, his father, Duncan Lee Hunter announced that, as part of his presidential bid, he would not seek re-election to the House of Representatives in 2008.[12]

After his son, Duncan D. Hunter, announced his candidacy for his father's seat, the younger Hunter was recalled by the United States Marine Corps to serve in the Operation Enduring Freedom – Afghanistan. On June 3, 2008, Duncan D. Hunter won the Republican primary with 72% of the vote in a four candidate field and became the Republican nominee to replace his father representing the 52nd District.[12][13]

In the general election, Hunter defeated Democratic nominee Mike Lumpkin, 56%–39%.[14][15]

Hunter succeeded his father, Congressman Duncan L. Hunter (R-Calif.), who retired from Congress after fourteen terms.[16] He was the first combat veteran of either Iraq or Afghanistan to serve in the U.S. Congress.[17][18][19]

2010[edit]

He won re-election to a second term with 63% of the vote, defeating Ray Lutz and Michael Benoit.[20]

2012[edit]

After redistricting, Hunter's district was renumbered as the 50th District.[21] It was pushed well to the east to cover most of inland San Diego County.

In the five-candidate open primary field, Hunter ranked first with 67% of the vote; Democratic nominee David Secor ranked second with 17% of the vote, qualifying for the November election.[22] In the general election, Hunter defeated Secor 68%–32%.[23]

2014[edit]

In the primary election, Hunter finished first with 62,371 votes (70%) to Democrat James H. Kimber's 21,552 (24%). In the general election, Hunter defeated Kimber by 111,997 votes (71%) to 45,302 (29%).[24]

2016[edit]

In the primary election, Hunter took 56.5% of the vote against four opponents. In the general election, he defeated Democrat Patrick Malloy, 63.9% to 36.1%.[25]

2018[edit]

Hunter filed to run for a sixth term. His campaign was predicted to be more challenging than usual due to an ongoing FBI campaign funds investigation.[26] Several Democrats challenged Hunter, including Ammar Campa-Najjar and Josh Butner. Hunter was also challenged by the Republican Mayor of El Cajon, Bill Wells.[27] In the primary Hunter received the most votes at 47.4%, followed by Campa-Najjar at 17.6% [28]. The two will face off in the November general election.[29]

Tenure[edit]

Following in the footsteps of his father, Hunter's voting record has been decidedly conservative. He has a lifetime rating of 93 from the American Conservative Union. He is also a member of the Republican Study Committee,[30] a caucus of conservative House Republicans of which his father was a longtime member.[citation needed]

In a 2009 interview with KPBS, Hunter expressed support for "overriding" the designation of the delta smelt as an endangered species, saying that overriding it would reduce unemployment in California.[31]

He opposed the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, saying that it would "take away" the doctor-patient relationship and the right for people to choose "what type of operations they have", and that it would allow a "government bureaucrat" to make health care decisions for people. In the KPBS interview, Hunter said, "Things that you have problems with now would be exacerbated if you had government-run healthcare."[32]

At an April 2010 Tea Party movement rally in Ramona, California, Hunter advocated for the deportation of United States citizens who are the children of illegal immigrants.[33]

At the rally, Hunter said, "It's a complex issue and ... you could look and say, 'You're a mean guy. That's a mean thing to do. That's not a humanitarian thing to do' ... We simply cannot afford what we're doing right now. We just can't afford it. California's going under." He confirmed the comments to San Diego County's North County Times, telling the newspaper that he supported House Resolution 1868, a measure that called for the elimination of birthright citizenship in the United States. He expressed support for the controversial 2010 Arizona immigration law, calling it a national security issue and "a fantastic starting point".[34]

On July 24, 2013, Hunter voted against an amendment offered by Justin Amash to rein in warrantless domestic surveillance conducted by the NSA.[35]

In October 2013 Hunter was the only representative from San Diego County to vote against the bill ending the nation's 16-day partial government shutdown, explaining that he voted against it because it did not reduce spending or the national debt.[36]

In February 2016, Hunter puffed on an electronic cigarette during a committee hearing, to dramatize his opposition to a proposed federal ban on such "vaping" on airplanes; however, his colleagues on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee approved the ban.[37]

At a town-hall-style meeting in March 2017, Hunter was confronted by protesters. Before the crowd, Hunter asserted that the American intelligence community was filled with "seditious Obama folks" who "hate Donald Trump as much as you (those at the meeting) do" and are trying to undermine the Trump administration. He also described the American government as "Orwellian".[38]

Hunter voted in favor of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.[39] Hunter said that the plan is "good for most states" but "not as good" for California.[40]

Military affairs[edit]

Hunter opposed the repeal of the don't ask, don't tell policy, which barred gays and lesbians from serving openly in the United States military. In 2011, Hunter advocated for delaying the implementation of the Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act of 2010, which was signed into law by U.S. President Barack Obama. In 2011, Hunter introduced legislation to require that all "four military service chiefs certify that the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell won't negatively affect their combat units".[41]

Columnist Dan Murtaugh of the Press-Register has suggested that Hunter's 2011 call to rebid the littoral combat ship program is an attempt to get federal funds for a shipyard in his district.[42] He returned to the LCS program in 2012, with a call to reduce LCS builds in favor of amphibious ships, because he had read a report that the Marines had leased a ferry with similar characteristics to the LCS and Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV).[43]

In a 2011 op-ed in Politico, Hunter opposed a complete withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan, citing "unreliable Afghan leadership" and accusing the Obama administration of "echoing a misshapen worldview that puts American interests last".[44] In October 2012, Hunter returned from a visit to Afghanistan, as part of a congressional delegation, with a more upbeat assessment, stating "Frankly I was very skeptical last year when I went last, and have been, on whether [the Afghans] can do this, but they are."[45]

In 2013 Hunter said the United States Navy was overworked and spread thin, and said that a "306-ship target might represent the absolute minimum capacity the navy needs".[46]

In December 2013, Hunter said that if a U.S. war with Iran becomes inevitable, which he "sure as hell" hoped wouldn't happen, the American response should be a "massive aerial bombing campaign" including "tactical nuclear devices".[47] He also said that the culture of Middle Easterners made them unreliable negotiating partners.[48]

Hunter has strongly criticized the Army's use of its internally developed DCGS-A system for tracking battlefield intelligence. He says that an alternative technology developed by Palantir Technologies is more effective at identifying IEDs and is preferred by Army personnel.[49] He stated that if Lt. Gen. Mary A. Legere is nominated to head the Defense Intelligence Agency, he will oppose her due to her support of the DCGS-A system.[50]

In 2013, Hunter called for the United States to train and arm Syrian rebels and stated his opinion that President Obama would be breaking the law if he bombed Syria without a Congressional mandate, and that it should be considered an impeachable offense.[51][52] In September 2014, however, Hunter voted against a proposal to train and arm Syrian rebels fighting against ISIL extremists, saying that the proposal didn't go far enough.[53]

In July 2010, Hunter introduced legislation into the 111th Congress to allow tobacco products to be shipped to service members serving in Iraq and Afghanistan;[54] the legislation died after being referred to committee.[55] In 2014, Hunter moved to block a plan by the military to ban sales of tobacco products on bases and ships, indicating that he believes servicemembers should be able to make their own choices regarding use of tobacco.[56]

As of 2014, he was one of 17 veterans of the Iraq War serving in the U.S. House of Representatives.[57] He has called for the system of awarding the Medal of Honor to be evaluated, due to the cases of Sergeant Rafael Peralta and Captain William D. Swenson.[58][59][60] Even after Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel became the third Secretary to deny the award to Peralta, Hunter maintained his pressure on the Pentagon. In late March 2014, he sent a letter asking the Pentagon to reevaluate Peralta's case, as well as the case of Bradley Kasal, who used his body to shield a fellow Marine from a grenade blast in Iraq in 2004.[61]

In 2017, Hunter opposed a proposal floated by the Trump administration to cut the U.S. Coast Guard's annual budget by $1.3 billion, calling the proposed budget cut "an insult" and "an appalling mistake".[62]

Legislation[edit]

Hunter introduced the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2014 (H.R. 4005; 113th Congress) into the House on February 6, 2014.[63] The bill would amend laws that govern the activities of the United States Coast Guard (USCG), the Maritime Administration (MARAD) within the Department of Transportation, and the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC).[64][65] One provision increased to 75% the proportion of food aid that must be transported on private U.S.-flagged cargo ships. The bill was signed into law on December 18, 2014.[66]

Hunter opposes women in combat and, to make a rhetorical point, in 2016 he introduced an amendment to the defense authorization act to require 18-to-26-year old women to register for the Selective Service System (as 18-to-26-year old men are required to do). This backfired, however, as the House Armed Services Committee voted 32-30 to adopt the amendment.[67][68]

Committee assignments[edit]

Caucus memberships[edit]

2016 presidential election[edit]

Hunter endorsed Donald Trump for president on February 24, 2016, after Trump's victory in the Nevada caucuses. He and Chris Collins (R-NY) were the first members of Congress to endorse Trump.[71]

Political positions[edit]

Abortion[edit]

Hunter is anti-abortion and believes life begins at conception. He has consistently voted against all forms of abortion, as well as cloning and embryonic stem cell research. He voted yes to criminalize harm to a fetus during another crime, no to funding family planning overseas, and yes to giving fetuses 14th Amendment protections.[72] Hunter voted to ban the "morning after" pill in the case of rape or incest, and would like to ban IUDs.[73]

He has been rated 0% by NARAL, a pro-choice organization, and 100% by NRLC, a pro-life organization.[74]

Cannabis[edit]

Hunter has a "B+" rating from NORML regarding his voting record on cannabis-related matters. He supports allowing veterans access to medical marijuana, if legal in their state, per their Veterans Health Administration doctor's recommendation. He also supports medical marijuana research.[75]

Climate change[edit]

Hunter does not believe climate change is caused by humans, and believes it may actually be positive. He has said about climate change, "Nobody really knows the cause ... It could be caused by carbon dioxide or methane. Maybe we should kill the cows to stop the methane, or stop breathing to stop the CO2 ... Thousands of people die every year of cold, so if we had global warming it would save lives ... We ought to look out for people. The earth can take care of itself."[76]

Hunter does not believe the EPA should be allowed to regulate greenhouse gas emissions and has consistently voted against any governmental limits to CO2 pollution. He would like to open up oil drilling in the US to bring down gas prices.[77]

Donald Trump[edit]

Hunter was an early supporter of Donald Trump.[78] According to anonymous sources, during an address to Riverside County Young Republicans in late August 2017, Hunter said of President Donald Trump, “He’s just like he is on TV ... He’s an asshole, but he’s our asshole.”[79]

Gender issues[edit]

He voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, an act which made it easier to file lawsuits regarding wage discrimination.[80]

In February 2013, Hunter voted in favor of renewing the Violence Against Women Act.[81] He supported the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which restricted federal recognition of marriage to opposite-sex couples only, and cut off federal benefits to same-sex couples.[82] He voted to delay the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell.[83]

On the question of transgender military personnel, Hunter has been quoted as saying that as a Marine Corps veteran, he couldn't imagine sharing a shower with "somebody who was a girl and didn’t have the surgery to become a man but kept the girl stuff".[84]

Guns[edit]

Hunter believes there should be no restrictions on gun ownership in the US.[85]

Healthcare[edit]

Hunter favors repealing the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and voted in support of a budget resolution to repeal Obamacare in January 2017.[85]

He has expressed support for all drafts of the AHCA, which would partially repeal and replace Obamacare, and voted for the AHCA on May 4, 2017. About the AHCA he said, "this is going to save America."[86][78]

Immigration[edit]

Hunter is strongly anti-amnesty and believes in strict immigration enforcement. He would like to build a double border fence to prevent illegal immigration.[85] He voted against renewing the Violence Against Women Act in part because it would allow battered illegal immigrants to claim temporary visas.[87]

Press relations[edit]

After a reporter from the Guardian was assaulted by a Republican from Montana,[88] Hunter's response was published in several newspapers. In response to questions about the AHCA's effect on those with pre-existing conditions, Gianforte put his hands around the reporter's neck and "bodyslammed" him to the ground, injuring his elbow and breaking his glasses. Hunter commented: “It’s not appropriate behavior. Unless the reporter deserved it.”[86]

Smoking[edit]

Hunter is a former smoker and uses an e-cigarette, which he credits with helping him quit cigarettes. He opposes the banning of e-cigarettes on airplanes. Hunter puffed on his e-cigarette during a congressional hearing about vaping.[89]

Campaign finance investigation[edit]

In April 2016, Hunter came under scrutiny from the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) regarding his use of campaign funds for personal expenses from 2015 to 2016 after Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed an ethics complaint.[90][91][92]

Hunter and his wife, Margaret, who is paid $3,000 monthly from campaign funds in her role as campaign manager, shared a campaign fund credit card with charges being questioned.[93] The expenses included $1,302 in charges for video games, $600 to pay for a family rabbit to travel by plane, clothing from Abercrombie & Fitch,[92] a donation to their son's school, payments to an oral and maxillofacial surgeon, travel costs including 32 payments for airfare, hotel stays in Arizona and Italy,[92] groceries, a nail salon visit, tuition, non-specified items at a surf shop,[94] and outdoor equipment.[95] Hunter returned from international travel to address any issues, promising to correct any inappropriate or mistaken charges.[93] In a subsequent statement issued through his lawyers, Hunter said that he has repaid his campaign approximately $60,000.[96] In August 2016, the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) made a recommendation to the Ethics Committee for a full investigation into Hunter.

In February 2017, Hunter's campaign offices were raided by the FBI as part of a criminal investigation where they seized "several computers, tablets and iPads, bills and disbursement records, as well as a computer hard drive, from Election CFO, an Alexandria, Virginia-based company that handled the California Republican’s campaign finances."[91] The media reported on the raid in August 2017 after private court documents were accidentally released to the public. The lawyer for Election CFO, Jason Torchinsky, has since confirmed the FBI raid.[91]

On March 23, 2017, the House Ethics Committee revealed that Hunter was under a Department of Justice (DOJ) criminal investigation for alleged campaign finance violations, and that it was deferring its own investigation as a result.[96]

On the same day, the committee released the OCE report, which stated: "Rep. Hunter may have converted tens of thousands of dollars of campaign funds from his congressional campaign committee to personal use to pay for family travel, flights, utilities, health care, school uniforms, and tuition, jewelry, groceries, and other goods, services, and expenses."[97][98] Hunter and his wife have repaid the money back to the campaign, and Hunter has denied wrongdoing. He announced the same month that his wife no longer receives a $3000/month salary for consulting the campaign.[97] His lawyers Gregory Vega and Elliot Berkewas have stated that any improper use of campaign funds was "inadvertent and unintentional".[91][96]

Hunter's campaign report from July 2017 shows significantly more spending for legal fees than the previous reports. Hunter's campaign spent $153,000 towards attorney fees also went $114,000 in debt to help pay seven law firms in April–June 2017, compared to paying legal fees of $80,000 for the 10 months that came before.[94]

Personal life[edit]

Hunter, his wife Margaret, and their three children have lived in Lakeside, California since 2007;[99] he has previously lived in Oklahoma, Virginia and Idaho.[32]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Duncan Hunter
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 52nd congressional district

2009–2013
Succeeded by
Scott Peters
Preceded by
Brian Bilbray
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 50th congressional district

2013–present
Incumbent
Current U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Jim Himes
D-Connecticut
United States Representatives by seniority
167th
Succeeded by
Lynn Jenkins
R-Kansas