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A Crowd Forms in San Diego, Undaunted by Hunter's Legacy

Congressional Quarterly (2007-05-31) Rachel Kapochunas

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By Rachel Kapochunas, CONGRESSIONAL QUARTERLY Published: May 31, 2007

California Rep. Duncan Hunter is leaving the House after 14 terms to seek the 2008 GOP presidential nomination - and guess what? A certain Duncan D. Hunter is running to succeed him. But in a San Diego district that's virtually assured of electing the Republican nominee, a bevy of party hopefuls are lining up to block the family's succession plans in the 52nd District.

Brian W. Jones, a Republican, recently filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to organize a House campaign. Jones plans a formal candidacy announcement in early July.

Jones told CQPolitics.com in an interview Tuesday that preparing early for the contest should give him a leg up in fundraising and organization over other competitors, which he described as the "number one challenge" in the race. He said his ideology, which includes an opposition to abortion, same-sex marriage and illegal immigration and support for a strong national defense, is "right in line with what I believe would be the majority of the district."

Jones said he called the younger Hunter in early April to let him know that if he decided to run, "it wasn't a personal thing."

Hunter, who filed paperwork with the FEC in April, serves in the Marine Corps and was reactivated for service this month and is presently in Afghanistan.

Hunter, 30, has no political experience. But his military background could win him some support in the district, which is home to several military bases.

And Hunter has the same name as his father, who was first elected in 1980 and is well-known in and around San Diego. The younger Hunter will appear on the June primary ballot as "Duncan Hunter," without the middle initial.

Jones, a small business owner who has a background in commercial real estate sales, was first elected to the Santee city council in 2002. He said he is banking on his "industry leadership, business leadership and government leadership" in this race.

Jones said he has been encouraged to run by friends and colleagues and has lined up backing from "quite a few people," including church leaders, school board members, fellow city councilors and individuals in the local business community.

Jones acknowledged that he needs to increase his name recognition beyond Santee, which with 53,000 residents has less than one-tenth the population of the 52nd District. The district includes eastern San Diego and all of the cities of El Cajon and La Mesa.

Jones noted the rare open-seat race has "attracted a lot of attention and a lot of interest."

At least 10 Republicans are still considered as possible candidates for the seat. They include Mark Larson, a conservative talk show host; former state Assemblyman Jay La Suer; and Assemblyman Joel Anderson. Despite the district's heavy Republican lean - President Bush took 61 percent of the vote in the 52nd three years ago - San Diego Democrats say they will field a credible candidate.

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Title A Crowd Forms in San Diego, Undaunted by Hunter's Legacy
Publisher Congressional Quarterly
Author Rachel Kapochunas
Pub Date 2007-05-31
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Keywords CA50 Congressional District
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Topic revision: r3 - 2013-02-24, RaymondLutz
 

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