California governor won’t call special election for Duncan Hunter’s seat
California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) will not call for a special election in the district held by resigning Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), a spokesperson confirmed Wednesday.
“The Governor’s office received Rep. Hunter’s resignation letter. Based on the timing of the resignation, a special election will not be called,” Newsom spokeswoman Vicky Waters said in a statement to The Hill.
Hunter announced Tuesday he plans to resign effective next Monday after pleading guilty last year to charges of campaign finance violations.
The constituents of California’s 50th Congressional District, which encompasses the northeastern part of San Diego County, will be without a representative in the House until next year.
Carl DeMaio, one of several Republicans running to replace Hunter, slammed Newsom, accusing him of not calling for the election for partisan reasons.
“If #CA50 were a safe Democrat seat, you know damn well @GavinNewsom would have wanted it filled as soon as possible – but because this is a Republican seat, he couldn’t care less about the voters in our district,” DeMaio tweeted.
It’s outrageous that Gov. Newsom is leaving #CA50 without a Member of Congress – their voice in Washington – for a full year. By playing politics, Gavin Newsom is denying the fundamental right for these residents to have the voice they deserve in Congress.
— Carl DeMaio (@carldemaio) January 8, 2020
Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar, who almost defeated Hunter in 2018 and is running again, hit back at DeMaio in a tweet, saying Hunter waited until mid-January to resign because the GOP was worried the Democrat would win a special election.
If Hunter and the party establishment weren’t worried I’d win a March 3 special election, he wouldn’t have waited until mid January to resign.
— Ammar Campa-Najjar (@ACampaNajjar) January 8, 2020
Hunter and his wife and former campaign treasurer, Margaret Hunter, were indicted in August 2018 on charges of misusing at least $250,00 in campaign funds.
They were accused of illegally using campaign funds to purchase trips to Europe and Hawaii, to pay for family dental work and school tuition, and to fly their pet rabbit across the country.
Additional allegations later emerged over the congressman using campaign funds during the course of five extramarital affairs with congressional staffers and lobbyists.
In his resignation letter sent to Newsom, the California Republican Party and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Hunter did not reference the charges he faced and instead highlighted his military experience and time in the House.