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Rep. Duncan D. Hunter's Campaign Money Goes in 'Other' Direction

La Mesa Patch (2010-10-27) Hoa Quach

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Rep. Duncan D. Hunter's Campaign Money Goes in 'Other' Direction

Republican lists no assets or income outside congressional pay but is using part of his war chest to fund other candidates.

Rep. Duncan D. Hunter has spent $625,858 so far in his bid for re-election in the 52nd Congressional District, records show, but only some of that is being used to woo voters.

Instead, the Republican incumbent, whose local office is in La Mesa, is donating to other candidates. He has funneled at least $42,000 to the National Republican Congressional Committeeand individual candidates, federal records show. Hunter also is traveling and spending donor money on fundraising, often outside the mainly East County district.

Republicans hold a 43 percent to 31 percent registration advantage over Democrats in the district of 346,151 voters. And along with incumbency and name recognition (his father Duncan L. Hunter held the seat for 28 years), Hunter's job is seen as safe from challenge.

Spending records show Hunter's focus is outside of the 52nd district.

"He actually isn't spending a lot of money on communicating with voters," said Brian Adams, a San Diego State University political science professor. "Most campaigns spend heavily with advertising, but that isn't the case with Hunter.", a site that tracks campaign finances, showed Hunter raised $712,635 and has spent $625,858 so far Of the expenditures, $480,000 was classified as "other."

Though all the filings are clear, Adams said the manner in which Hunter is spending his money is "unusual."

"It looks like he's following all the rules," Adams said. "But typically candidates will spend a majority of their money on communicating with voters."

Instead, Adams said, Hunter is spending some of his money on donating to other candidates.

Hunter—whose congressional disclosure statement filed in May shows that neither he nor his wife have any assets or additional salary aside from his Congress pay—has far exceeded opponent Ray Lutz, the La Mesa-born Democrat who raised $37,108.

According to the website, Hunter donated $1,500 of his campaign money to the Friends of David Harmer campaign, a candidate for California's 11th District—encompassing parts of San Joaquin, Alameda, Contra Costa, and Santa Clara counties.

The website also shows Hunter has shared his campaign contributions with Lee Terry, running for Congress in Nebraska; Lou Barletta, running in Pennsylvania; Teresa Hernandez, running in El Monte, CA; and Vaughn Ward, a candidate in Idaho. He also donated $250 to Nathan Fletcher for Assembly 2010, seeking the 75th District seat of inland North County.

Adams also pointed out that nearly $100,000 was paid to Sheila Hardison, in charge of fundraising for Hunter's campaign. Additionally, Hunter spent $4,737 at Capitol Suites in Washington, D.C.; $13,181 at Capitol Hill Club; and $1,545 at the Ritz Carlton Maryland.

In comparison, Hunter spent $2,465 at Graphic Printing in El Cajon; $292 at Kelly Paper in La Mesa; $250 at Paper Direct in Colorado; $8,860 to the Postmaster in La Mesa; and $205 to UPS in Dallas.

These numbers are different from Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-Solana Beach), seen as being in a tight race against Francine Busby in the 50th Congressional District. Bilbray spent the following on printing and mailing services: Western Press, $5,072; Postmaster, $682; Streeter Printing, $7,141; Magma Creative, $4,750; Phoenix Direct Mail, $8,091; and Postal Corner, $812.

Related Links: Only Debate in 52nd Congressional District Pits Incumbents vs. Challengers | Highlight Reel Shows Lutz, Benoit Targeting Duncan D. Hunter at Debate

Rep. Bob Filner, (D-Chula Vista), also spent large amounts on related services for his race against Nick Popovich: two payments of $2,580 and $12,977 for Complete; $49,171 for Defrance Printing; $704 for Kinkos; and two payments of $1,765 and $7,184 for the Postmaster.

But Republican consultant John Dadian said Hunter's expenditures are not out of the ordinary. Dadian said given that Hunter is not in a competitive race, he is able to invest his money in other races to assist his Republican colleagues.

"One of his roles as a very young congressman is to help his colleagues," Dadian said. "That's how you build a base and that will help him secure certain positions in his long career."

Dadian said Hunter's actions during the campaign are comparable to Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista), who has served since 2001.

Hunter campaign consultant Dave Gilliard noted that funds spent on voters are normally used the week before Election Day. He said voters should see two mass mailers sent out this week, and those expenditures won't be included until the next financial filing period.

"If you look at the race he ran two years ago, a lot of money was spent on mailers throughout the campaign," Gilliard said. "This year the opponents haven't been doing much, and it makes it a different race."

Duncan D. Hunter, a former Marine officer who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, succeeded his father in the 52nd District seat after winning election in November 2008. He defeated Democrat Mike Lumpkin, a former Navy SEAL commander, 56 percent to 39 percent.

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Title Rep. Duncan D. Hunter's Campaign Money Goes in 'Other' Direction
Publisher La Mesa Patch
Author Hoa Quach
Pub Date 2010-10-27
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Note Features Duncan Hunter Jr and Ray Lutz
Keywords CA 50 Congressional District
Media Type Linked Article
Media Group News
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Topic revision: r2 - 25 Feb 2013, RaymondLutz
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