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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Duncan Hunter Update

In Defying the Odds, we discuss congressional elections as well as the presidential race.

Jeff McDonald and Morgan Cook at San Diego Union-Tribune:
The criminal indictment issued against Rep. Duncan Hunter and his wife, Margaret, late last month alleges years of cavalier spending — luxury resorts, fine dining, tequila shots and more — all paid for with political contributions.
The 47-page document also says the five-term Republican from Alpine had “personal relationships” with five unnamed individuals. The federal indictment offers few details about the relationships, and Hunter’s lawyer objected to the turn the investigation took.

In an August letter to the Justice Department, defense attorney Gregory Vega argued that prosecutors are pursuing criminal charges for conduct that falls into gray areas of civil election law.
“This is true even for personal indiscretions of the congressman that the prosecutors seem intent on charging,” Vega wrote. “The supposed reason given for including these details is that they reflect spending of campaign funds for extramarital infidelities and excessive drinking.”

According to Vega’s letter, prosecutors told the defense that they have pictures of indiscretions.
“While there may be evidence of infidelity, irresponsibility or alcohol dependence, once properly understood, the underlying facts do not equate to criminal activity," Vega wrote.

Griffin Connolly at Roll Call:
An internal poll conducted for Hunter’s Democratic opponent, Ammar Campa-Najjar, found the two dead-even at 46 percent in the head-to-head race.
The poll conducted by Tulchin Research for Campa-Najjar surveyed 400 likely voters by phone between Aug. 27 and Aug. 30. The margin of error for the poll was 4.9 percentage points.
Eighty-seven percent of voters surveyed had heard information or read about news of Hunter’s indictment.
The poll also showed a 16 percent shift in Hunter’s unfavorable numbers from another poll in July.
Campa-Najjar’s poll showed 45 percent of likely voters had an unfavorable opinion of him compared to 36 percent of likely voters who viewed him favorably.
Hunter won re-election in 2016 by a handy 27 points, outpacing Trump, who carried the district by 15 points.
Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the race against Campa-Najjar Likely Republican.