Duncan Hunter leads by 8 points in the polls, and here's why

After a very bad indictment, loss of his committee assignments, and a likely coming fall, U.S. rep. Duncan Hunter, Jr., a Republican representing Alpine, Calif., is...eight points ahead of his opponent in the polls.

According to the San Diego Union-Tribune:

Facing a federal indictment for misuse of campaign funds, Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Alpine) is still the frontrunner in the race for the 50th Congressional District – although with a shrinking advantage over Democratic challenger Ammar Campa-Najjar.

According to a Survey USA poll released Monday, Hunter now has an eight-point lead over his opponent, 47 percent to 39 percent, with 13 percent undecided.  The margin of error is plus or minus 5.5 percent.

So much for a blue wave, at least in the California badlands, that rocky, bone-dry, chaparral-filled, rattlesnake-laced, mountainous, rodeo-and-country music area that is the 50th Congressional District.

That's where Hunter comes from, and so did his congressman father, the well regarded Duncan Hunter, Sr.

In David Beer's excellent 1997 chronicle of California demography, Blue Sky Dream, he notes that the Republicans of California tend to start two miles in from the coast, and the bluing of San Diego (including my own district) has since extended that to about four miles.

Since I live in these parts and am a San Diego native, I will give a sense of what I think is going on.

Hunter represents this ranchy inland semi-rural part of San Diego County, which is a pretty big area, according to this chart, and like most inland areas, it swings red in opposition to the creeping blue of its arrogant coastal elites.  Beer noted that the right-wingers start right at the two-mile point.  That has likely extended since he wrote the book in 1997, with real estate values going sky-high in the blue areas, chi chi areas popping up, environmentalists getting the hooks in, and casual prosperity making people take prosperity for granted, no matter the taxes or government spending.

You don't have that mentality out in a place like Alpine, a pleasant little town with a Wild West flavor and horses in swimming pools, which is a place many San Diegans stop in on on the way to up-mountain Julian, the town where San Diegans go to see what snow looks like and the home of our former beloved surfing mayor, Republican Roger Hedgecock, who was taken away from us by leftist gutter politics.

In short, the place goes red as soon as it goes rural.

Not surprisingly, it's been Trumpy from the beginning.  Alpine is a place where people who can't afford to plunk down $700,000 for a tiny home in regular San Diego go.  It's the place that needs guns to fight off bears and mountain lions because the sheriff is miles away.  Bad guys are human-smugglers trekking through those parts on the way to all the goodies of Los Angeles.  Naturally, the Alpine people are pro-military, and they don't like free trade, and that has been the story since NAFTA was enacted in 1994.  About 15 years ago, I remember asking Hunter Sr. how he could be so against free trade when everything else he said was on target, and hating free trade was a left-wing thing.  I recall he stuck by his guns.

It is not surprising that Hunter was an early Trump-supporter, because he was right on the same page as Trump from the beginning, and so was his district.

Now he gets busted, just shortly before an election, and that raises red flags among the electorate, whose first instinct is to batten down the hatches.

As I mentioned earlier, one thing that drives Republican resentment in those parts is the fact that as soon as we get someone we want elected, the left finds a way to take him away.  Never mind the left's own sins; leftists come at ours like a juggernaut.  They took away our Nixon, and to old-timers, that still stings.  Then they took away our Hedgecock, and that memory is even fresher.  You can see they are trying to take away our Trump.  And then there is Duncan Hunter himself, another case of them trying to take him away with what they see as a conveniently hatched prosecution, coming right at election time.

Understand why voters are sticking by Hunter?  Trump initiated a new era of fighting back, and that's why so many are standing by Hunter despite his transgressions.  Repeatedly, they tell the press they think the whole thing is politicized justice, not real justice, which fires them up all the more.

On the right, there is a persistent sense that if you abdicate your vote, stay away from the polls, or vote for the other guy, the bottom line is, you'll get the left, no matter how nice the replacement may be, and Hunter's Democratic opponent, Ammar Campa-Najjar, grandson of a major Palestinian terrorist (the mastermind of the 1972 Munich Olympic massacre), does come off as a nice guy (who renounces the deeds of his gramps) in press interviews.  The voters know that if the worst comes to Hunter, all that will happen is that another Republican will be appointed in his place – surely a better result than getting a lockstep leftist instead, doing whatever Nancy Pelosi tells him.

What's probably just as significant as the fact that Hunter is holding onto his lead by a still comfortable margin is that the Democrats have yet to pour additional resources into Campa-Najjar's race, and he's complained about that.  Obviously, they know the territory, too, and suspect that Hunter will hold on to his seat.

A vote for Hunter may not mean he lasts in office, but it will mean the voters are sending a message of sorts: the unequal justice thing put on by the left isn't working anymore.  The Trump revolution has changed everything.  They'll elect Hunter just to spite the Deep State and its leftist allies.

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