By Doug Porter
Yup. Congressman Dwayne Duncan Hunter actually said that. As the saying goes, ‘it takes one to know one…’
I’m now officially back in the saddle (actually I’ve posted two other stories, but hey, they were just warm ups) after my California road trip, and the ol’ Starting Line Inbox is chock full of deserving stories.
At the top of my list will be continuing coverage of our Republican Congressmen, Darrell Issa and Duncan Hunter. Or, as I like to call them, Frick and Frack.
As we move into the fall, I also plan on writing often about the upcoming elections in San Diego County. I have reached the conclusion that these contests represent the most potential for progressive change on a local level in the context of electoral politics.
The Union-Tribune’s coverage of Rep. Duncan Hunter’s comments at a Riverside County Young Republicans meeting in a Murrieta sports bar merits special attention:
“He’s just like he is on TV,” Hunter, R-Alpine, told the group. “He’s an asshole, but he’s our asshole.”
Hunter’s salty assessment was recounted by four people who were present when the congressman spoke at a Riverside County Young Republicans meeting in a Murrieta sports bar. Three spoke on the record with attribution, while one source spoke on the condition of anonymity. Others who were there made posts about Hunter’s comments on social media as well.
Hunter’s chief of staff did not respond to emails for comment. His voice mailbox was filled and could not accept more messages. The House is on recess until Sept. 5.
Meanwhile, Hunter’s constituents were looking for answers on Saturday, via an “Empty Chair” Town Hall Event at Cuyamaca College calling out the congressman for his refusal to hold his own town hall meeting.
The event was sponsored by FlipCa50th, with support from the San Diego Democratic Party. In attendance were roughly 200 members from over 25 Indivisible groups from all over San Diego County.
Elected officials who appeared at the event were Olga Diaz (Escondido City Council) and Gloria Chadwick (Grossmont Healthcare District). Democratic candidates for offices around the county included Pierre Beauregard, Josh Butner, Ammar Campa Najjar, Patrick Malloy, Ken Malbrough, and James Elia.
Here’s a seven-minute video overview of the event.
From the Los Angeles Times:
The event featured a mock trial of Hunter on allegations that he misused campaign funds, as well as speeches about healthcare, climate change and immigration.
Nancy Roy, 66, of Ramona said she wasn’t really expecting Hunter to be there, but she was hopeful.
“I was disappointed that our representative was not there,” Roy said. “It’s very disappointing that someone who is supposed to represent our community never shows up, is not accessible, doesn’t answer phone calls or emails.”
“Empty chair” town halls have become a frequent tactic of liberal groups looking to unseat congressional Republicans. Hunter had several other public appearances during the August recess, but not a town hall. His last town hall was in March. Hunter didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on Saturday’s event.
Congressman Hunter was otherwise occupied on Saturday as a featured guest aboard the California Princess luxury yacht as part of the GOP’s annual Chairman’s Circle Bay Cruise. Also attending was Congressman Darrell Issa.
Am I the only one who’s noticed Duncan Hunter’s fondness for adult beverages? He’s either holding meetings in a bar or getting his picture taken with a glass in his hand… Just sayin…
Prior to the Empty Chair event, activists from around the region posed for a drone photo to send a message to Darrell Issa and Duncan Hunter, Jr.
The aerial photo is in support of a formal resolution of censure in response to Donald Trump’s controversial remarks about the violence in Charlottesville, introduced by Reps. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., and Bonnie Watson Coleman, D-N.J, and co-sponsored by 79 other Representatives.
The resolution cites specific actions the representatives believe merit censure:
“Whereas President Donald Trump’s immediate public comments rebuked ‘many sides’ for the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, and failed to specifically condemn the ‘Unite the Right’ rally or cite the white supremacist, neo-Nazi gathering as responsible for actions of domestic terrorism.”
“Whereas President Donald Trump has surrounded himself with, and cultivated the influence of, senior advisors and spokespeople who have long histories of promoting white nationalist, alt-Right, racist and anti-Semitic principles and policies within the country.”
According to the National Constitution Center, Andrew Jackson is the only president ever to be censured by a House of Congress.
Whig Party member Henry Clay led the fight to censure Jackson. After 10 weeks of debate, Senate members voted 26-20 to pass the censure against Jackson for using “authority and power not conferred by the Constitution.”
The legal reality is that such a motion is little more than a gesture of disapproval.
On Saturday, UT reporter Joshua Stewart (who also wrote the story about Hunter’s ‘asshole’ remarks) wrote about the difficulties involved in unseating the incumbent 50th District Congressman.
As he contends with the investigation heading into the 2018 midterm elections, Hunter has the numbers on his side. His district has the third-highest Republican voter registration in California, and has the largest GOP margin over Democrats — 15.67 percentage points — of any district in the state.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is targeting the seat, but acknowledges that the voter registration margin is tough to overcome. Drew Godinich, a DCCC spokesman, said that progressives are motivated this cycle, that Hunter is vulnerable, and that they have made inroads in the district. He noted that his party has whittled a 20-point GOP advantage down to about 16 points in the last four years and voters are expected to express their frustrations with President Donald Trump in House races.
Despite all the bad news –namely the criminal investigation– surrounding Congressman Hunter, Stewart interviewed a Mary Moran, Ramona resident who supports Hunter. And what she said represents the real problem, namely the alternate reality many 50th exist within:
“They don’t go with what’s trendy or politically correct,” she continued. “They have these strong values that resonate with all of us, especially in the backcountry.”
In other words, what the Congressman said about the President applies to himself as a candidate as well. Duncan Hunter may be an asshole but he’s ‘their’ asshole.
— Reuters U.S. News (@ReutersUS) August 29, 2017
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