California Republican Duncan Hunter finally left the House and took any Democratic chances of winning the 50th District with him.
Hunter won reelection in 2018 by 3 points in a Southern California seat that Republicans shouldn’t have to worry about defending, considering President Donald Trump carried it by 15 points in 2016. Hunter was under indictment at the time, which shows the strength any GOP candidate should have in the district.
Hunter subsequently pleaded guilty on Dec. 3 to misusing hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign funds, but waited until mid-January to officially resign — extending the time he was eligible for congressional pay and benefits. He’s scheduled to be sentenced in March.
A recent poll, conducted Jan. 9-12 by SurveyUSA, confirms the fundamental partisanship of the district. Under California law, all candidates, regardless of party, run in the same primary with the top two vote-getters advancing to the general election. Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar was the leading candidate in the SurveyUSA poll with 26 percent and another Democrat, Marisa Calderon, the executive director of the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals, was in fifth with 3 percent. Their combined 29 percent was a far cry from the 48 percent Campa-Najjar received in the 2018 general election against Hunter and even down a few points from the 31 percent he received in an October survey.
Right now, it looks like a race for second in the March 3 primary…