Challenger outraises embattled California rep ahead of 2020 rematch

Challenger outraises embattled California rep ahead of 2020 rematch
© Getty Images

Ammar Campa-Najjar, the Democrat mounting a second challenge against Rep. Duncan HunterDuncan Duane HunterCan Carl DeMaio save the California GOP? The Hill's Campaign Report: Democrats clash over future of party in heated debate Issa says he will run for Congress if not confirmed to trade post by Nov. 3 MORE (R-Calif.) in 2020, outraised the incumbent by a nearly four-to-one margin in the first quarter of 2019.

Campa-Najjar, who narrowly lost to Hunter in 2018, raised roughly $350,000 from January through March, while Hunter drew in just under $92,000, according to Federal Election Commission filings. Campa-Najjar, a former Obama White House staffer, ended March with about $273,509 on hand, while Hunter has a war chest of about $106,378.

ADVERTISEMENT

The House race in California’s 50th Congressional District, which covers some San Diego suburbs, is likely to be a top Democratic target in 2020 as Hunter continues to deal with the repercussions of an indictment over allegedly misusing campaign funds for personal expenses. Democrats have also slammed Hunter for using “racist” attack ads calling Campa-Najjar, a Christian of Mexican and Palestinian descent, a “national security threat.”

“Facing an upcoming criminal trial, Congressman Duncan Hunter Jr. resorted to a desperate strategy of lies and bigotry in order to raise money. I took a different approach — I asked for grassroots support by laying out an agenda that centers on people’s day-to-day economic needs here in CA-50. Based on the numbers, it looks like Hunter’s bigotry backfired and people are ready to finish what we started together in 2018,” Campa-Najjar said in a press release Tuesday. 

“Congressman Hunter is working hard and very much appreciates all the support he has received,” Mike Harrison, a spokesperson for Hunter’s campaign, said in a statement to The Hill.

Hunter narrowly held onto his seat last year, edging out Campa-Najjar by about three points. He trounced his opponent by 27 points in 2016, suggesting his constituents may be turned off by the Trump White House and Hunter’s legal troubles.

Democrats are likely seeking to build off their gains in California from the 2018 cycle in which Democratic challengers unseated a slew of Republican incumbents in largely suburban districts.