|In Brief - Represents California's 52nd Congressional District consisting of eastern and northern San Diego County. Elected to a 14th term in Congress in Nov. 2006. Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee in the 108th and 109th Congresses. First elected to Congress in 1980, defeating Democratic incumbent Lionel Van Deerlin. Attorney in private practice in Barrio Logan San Diego. J.D. and B.S.L from Western State University Law School in San Diego, 1976. Vietnam veteran; served in the 173rd Airborne and 75th Army Rangers, 1969-71. Born May 31, 1948 in Riverside, CA. [Timeline].|
A Surprise Candidate
On October 30, 2006, just a week before the mid-term elections, Rep. Duncan Hunter, a thirteen-term member of Congress and the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, stood with family and friends overlooking the San Diego waterfront and announced plans to form presidential exploratory committee. "My path is a path for a strong national security, for strong borders," Hunter said at the event. Hunter's announcement caught political observers by surprise for he is not well known nationally, and the House has not proven to be a good springboard to the White House. Indeed the last person to make that step was James A. Garfield of Ohio in 1880, and he only emerged as the Republican nominee on 36th ballot at the party's national convention.
Peace Through Strength
Hunter was first elected to Congress in 1980 the same year that Ronald Reagan was elected President, and he remains a steadfast adherent of the "peace through strength" national security strategy advocated by Reagan. Having served in Vietnam, having served on the Armed Services Committee for so many years, and having a son who recently served in Iraq, Hunter is very well versed in military matters and is a strong supporter of the United States military, but his perspective on national security extends also to border security and trade.
Hunter has long pushed for more Border Patrol agents and fencing along the border. (His San Diego County district is adjacent to but does not actually touch the U.S.-Mexico border). Starting in the 1994 he led an effort to construct 14 miles of multiple fencing between San Diego County and Tijuana stretching inland from the Pacific Ocean. Some portions have not yet been completed due to environmental concerns, but Hunter states that the fence has reduced smuggling and drugs in the area by 90 percent. He has also led the recent push to construct 698 miles of fencing in five heavily trafficked areas along the border, which was included in the immigration bill signed by President Bush in October 2006.
Hunter has taken an outspoken position on trade. He opposed the NAFTA and CAFTA trade agreements and argues that China is "cheating" on trade with the United States and using the money it gains to build up its military. (ads)
Hunter's national security and border security credentials and trade position could provide a track for him to appeal to conservative voters in the Republican primaries. He is also pro-life; in the 109th Congress he sponsored the Right to Life Act (H.R. 552), "To implement equal protection under the 14th article of amendment to the Constitution for the right to life of each born and preborn human person." If Hunter were to gain the nomination, however, he would face even longer odds in winning over the broader electorate. Hunter is not one to mince words. Announcing his intention to form an exploratory committee, he threw in a couple of barbs directed at liberals. He supports de-funding the National Endowment for the Arts. In a 2006 interview with John Hawkins of "Right Wing News," he described former President Bill Clinton as "the man who devastated the US military" and former President Jimmy Carter as a man "who believed that appeasement was a stronger tool of foreign policy than strength or was a more important tool of foreign policy than strength."
On the Web
|Hunter for President,
(Feb. 16, 2007 grab)
|Hunter for President,
(Jan. 25, 2007 grab)
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|Peace Through Strength PAC|
|Copyright © 2006, 2007 Eric M. Appleman/Democracy in Action||