Perhaps sensing blood in the water of the 50th Congressional District—probably the most Republican district in California—Democrat challenger Ammar Campa-Najjar has secured one of the most well-known and successful hired guns: national campaign strategist Joe Trippi as his campaign’s media consultant and lead strategist.
Although the 50th, which includes eastern San Diego County and a smidgen of Riverside County, has been reliably GOP for decades, incumbent Hunter is fending off an FBI investigation into previous campaign spending. Democrats see Hunter limping and hope to pick him off in the much-heralded—but which remains to be demonstrated—Blue Wave of 2018.
Trippi most recently managed Democrat Doug Jones’ victory for U.S. Senate this year in deeply red Alabama and also guided California Governor Jerry Brown’s successful 2010 gubernatorial campaign against Meg Whitman, in which Brown was outspent over 4-to-1: $187 million to $40 million.
Trippi envisions something similar in the 50th. He commented, “Ammar can win this race. Just like we saw in Alabama with Doug Jones, voters want to end the divisiveness and chaos, and start working together to get things done. Incumbent Congressman Duncan Hunter represents scandal and partisanship. Ammar will bring integrity to Washington, and work with everyone for common sense solutions.”
Trippi is perhaps most well-known for his work as campaign manager for former Vermont Governor Howard Dean’s 2004 presidential campaign. He was among those credited with helping to engineer the Dean campaign’s groundbreaking use of the internet to build financial and grassroots support.
In June, the Republican Hunter gathered up 47.4% of the vote, with Democrat Campa-Najjar finished second with 17.6% in a field of seven candidates overall.
Inewsource reported this week: “Hunter, a five-term congressman, has more cash in the bank than Campa-Najjar as of June 30 — $352,000 compared to $279,000. But Hunter has actually spent more money than he has raised.”
Inewsource also reported: “The PACs donating to Ammar Campa Najjar’s campaign include the Fearless for the People PAC, Congressional Progressive Caucus PAC, PowerPacPlus and the Democratic Midterm Victory Fund. Among the groups giving financial support to Hunter are the International Union of Operating Engineers, the Lockheed Martin Corporation Employees’ PAC, the Florida Sugar Cane League, the Cruise Lines International Association.”