By Doug Porter
Two high-profile Congressional supporters of presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump are in the news this week. A loss of voter support for down-ballot legislative seats is considered one the biggest challenges for Republicans in 2016.
Congressman Darrell Issa’s surprisingly weak showing in the primary has delighted Democrats. Ex-marine Douglas Applegate is garnering national attention after a strong showing in a district that’s been a lock for Republicans in the past.
Congressman Duncan Hunter is under fire for comparing a Latino bar association with white supremacist groups in a radio interview with Fox News Sean Hannity about Donald Trump’s accusations regarding U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel.
The Richest Member of Congress
With a personal fortune estimated to be as much as $768 million, a campaign war chest reflecting $3.7 million in corporate support, and a high media profile, 49th District Congressman Darrell Issa’s June 7th six-point margin of victory wouldn’t normally be concerning to Republicans.
Issa’s margins of victory in past elections have been as high as 50 points. In years with high Democratic voter turnout (2008, 2012) he’s carried his district with an average margin of 18 points. In non-presidential election years, his average lead beats 30 points.
So this is kind of a big deal.
Thad Kousser, a political science professor at UC San Diego, said a couple of things probably hurt the Republican lawmaker.
One was Issa’s support for presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump.
“Being associated with Donald Trump, being in the party of Donald Trump, being an endorser of Donald Trump may have pulled him down, especially in a district that has a lot of Latino voters,” Kousser said. “And secondly, with Donald Trump sewing up the Republican race, there wasn’t that push to get Republicans to the polls, and that would’ve helped Congressman Issa.”
NBC7 caught up with challenger Douglas Applegate at an Oceanside meeting on Wednesday:
Applegate said he did not expect these results from the primary.
“I didn’t see any Democratic challenger to a sitting Congressman ever doing that well,” he said.
The next step for his campaign is to start adding more donors.
“In talking with donors, I was told: ‘if you come within 20 points in the primary, call me back,'” Applegate told NBC 7. “And actually I said, ‘Democrats don’t perform that well in primaries. You are setting a bar that I will never be able to call you back. That’s not fair.’”
A study by the American Immigration Panel indicates that 49.6% of newly registered voters in Issa’s district in 2014 were naturalized immigrant voters and young Asians/Latinos. Accusations of racism against the top of the GOP ticket in 2016 may be significant in the fall general elections.
A Whiff of Racism from Mr Vape
The Republican Congressman from the 50th District has added yet another negative story to his repertoire.
Back in February, Duncan Hunter took his pro-tobacco agenda to a new extreme, whipping out an e-cigarette and puffing away during a hearing about an amendment to ban vaping on planes.
This spring we’ve been treated to a parade of embarrassing stories, as Hunter has repeatedly apologized and paid back misspent campaign funds. In April, he threw his 13-year-old son under the bus, trying to explain monies spent on video games. Then he rushed back from a trip to Israel to point the finger at his wife/campaign manager as additional personal expenses were revealed.
The Union-Tribune revealed Hunter spent campaign funds for a garage door, tuition at his son’s private Christain school and oral surgery. He wrote his campaign a check for $12,000 in early April to supposed repay these “mistakes.”
From the Daily Beast:
But since then, a long list of other illegal charges on Hunter’s campaign credit card have been reported by the Union-Tribune, prompting the question: When do a few little mix-ups start to look like an illegal conspiracy to bankroll a young family’s entire life at the expense of campaign donors?
In addition to the video games, tuition, oral or facial surgery, and surf shop fees, Hunter also used his campaign funds, according to the Union-Tribune, for 106 trips to the gas station, totaling $5,660; 16 visits to the fast-food chain Jack In the Box, for $297; 40 stops at various supermarkets like Trader Joe’s, for $6,819; $229 at the Tomorrowland gift shop at Disneyland; $1,569 in gas, electric, and water bills for his home (an illegal expense even though Hunter runs his campaign from his home); and a $216 “food/beverages” charge at a jewelry store in Italy that sells no ingestible goods.
Hunter, a former Marine who succeeded his father, Duncan Hunter Sr., to enter Congress in 2009, endorsed Trump back in February. It’s anyone’s guess as to how Trump reconciles his belief that Washington is a broken place populated by wimps who can easily be bought with his embrace of Hunter, who has repeatedly—even if accidentally—used voters’ money on himself.
Now Congressman Hunter has jumped on the Trump racism bandwagon with a radio interview bursting with ignorance.
From Talking Points Memo:
Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) on Tuesday made a bizarre comparison between the judge whom Donald Trump has attacked for his “Mexican heritage” and members of supremacist groups.
In a radio interview first flagged by Buzzfeed News, host Sean Hannity cited an article from the conservative conspiracy site World Net Daily in pointing out to Hunter that a Latino bar association that U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel belongs to linked to the National Council of La Raza, a civil rights group critical of Trump’s immigration policy, on its website. Hannity asked Hunter if he thought that connection to “La Raza” was “relevant.”
“Yeah, that is relevant,” he replied. “If you had a judge that was a member of a white supremacist group or a Native American supremacist group, or anything, that’s what La Raza is here in San Diego. They believe that California is theirs, that the United States took it wrongly and they’re gonna get it back one day. And they’re gonna take it by force if they have to.”
The Latino Bar Association has been fighting back, trying to point out that the assertions about them are simply wrong:
The San Diego La Raza Lawyers Association (SDLRLA) is a local diversity bar association whose reputation among the San Diego legal community is highly regarded. Our focus is “to advance the cause of equality, empowerment and justice for Latino attorneys and the Latino community in San Diego County through service and advocacy. We are dedicated to promoting diversity on both the bench and bar…”
SDLRLA is made up of lawyers, judges, law students and other professionals who work with lawyers in a professional capacity. Our membership of about 300 individuals is not monolithic, consisting of conservatives, liberals, Republicans, Democrats and Latinos and non-Latinos alike…
Contrary to what Trump has stated, we are not affiliated with the National Council of La Raza (NCLR). NCLR is a wholly independent civil rights and advocacy non-profit organization. SDLRLA has not been involved in organizing any Trump protests, nor do we work in conjunction with NCLR.
Democrat Patrick Malloy is facing Duncan Hunter in the General Election. The 50th District is about as solidly Republican as any in California. In 2012 and 2014 Hunter carried the district with 36 and 52 point leads respectively.
Against five opponents, the incumbent came in first in the most recent election with 57.2% of the vote, so Malloy has his work cut out for him. As one political consultant once told me, many of the voters supporting Duncan C. Hunter, Jr., think they are voting for his father Duncan L. Hunter, who retired in 2009.
‘You were born in a Taco Bell’: Trump’s rhetoric fuels school bullies across US. https://t.co/SEMpStPnLj
— America’s Voice (@AmericasVoice) June 9, 2016
CBS News is reporting that Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass) will be making a major address on the corrupting influence of special interests and money on the judicial system, citing presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump as a prime example of the problem.
Warren will also denounce attacks on federal judges “at the first sign that they might put the rule of law above devotion to the rich and powerful,” referring to the way Trump has been talking about the judge presiding over a pair of lawsuits involving Trump University, Gonzalo Curiel.
Warren will praise Curiel as “one of countless American patriots who has spent decades quietly serving his country, sometimes at great risk to his own life.”
She’ll then castigate Donald Trump as “a loud, nasty, thin-skinned fraud who has never risked anything for anyone and serves nobody but himself. And that is just one of the many reasons why he will never be president of the United States.”
On This Day: 1924 – “Jelly-Roll Blues” was recorded by Jelly Roll Morton and his band. 1934 – Donald Duck made his debut in the Silly Symphonies cartoon “The Wise Little Hen.” 2011 – The world’s first artificial organ transplant was performed. It was an artificial windpipe coated with stem cells.
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