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Duncan Hunter

"It is clear our message of maintaining a strong national defense, securing our border without amnesty, holding China accountable on trade, and protecting life are resonating with the voters. Our campaign is one of issues, not flash and expense. We don't have a jet or an army of consultants and paid staff. We do have the conservative message that is true. In the end, that will be what Americans want." - Duncan Hunter

Statistics -

FULL NAME: Duncan Lee Hunter 
DATE OF BIRTH: May 31, 1948
AGE: 59
SPOUSE: Lynne Layh
CHILDREN: Duncan Duane and Sam
PETS: Boo & Hunter - Black Labs
LAST FICTION READ: "The Democrats' proposal to balance the budget."
FAVORITE FOOD TO COOK/EAT: Chicken fried venison
TALENTS: Making rifle scabbards out of leather
FAVORITE FITNESS ACTIVITY: Hunting, fishing, hiking
WORST HABIT: "Not turning off the Outdoor Life Network (now Versus) before I go to sleep."
LAST MUSIC PURCHASE: Favors country and gospel

QUICK FACT: Duncan's Alpine home in East San Diego County was lost in the October 2003 wildfires.  The re-building of his home was just recently completed.


Biography -

Duncan Lee Hunter is an American politician who has been a Republican member of the House of Representatives since 1981 from California's 52nd congressional district in northern and eastern San Diego. Hunter was the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee during the 109th Congress. In the 2006 general election, he defeated Navy veteran/minister John Rinaldi, a Democrat, and Michael Benoit, a Libertarian. Hunter was re-elected with 65% of the vote, a 33-point margin over Rinaldi. His family attends First Baptist Church of Alpine, which is affiliated with the San Diego Southern Baptist Association.

Hunter was born in Riverside, California to Lola L. Young and Robert Olin Hunter. He briefly attended the University of Montana and the University of California, Santa Barbara before enlisting in the United States Army. He served in the Vietnam War in the 173rd Airborne Brigade and the 75th Ranger Regiment. Hunter married the former Lynne Layh in 1973. That same year, utilizing the G.I. Bill, he enrolled at Thomas Jefferson School of Law (at the time known as Western State University Law School) and earned a BSL and JD in 1976. Hunter worked farming and construction jobs to supplement his income while finishing his degree. After graduation, he opened a storefront legal office where he often provided free legal assistance to the area's Hispanic community. He was admitted to The State Bar of California on December 22, 1976, but has held inactive status since January 1, 1983. Inactive members have chosen this status voluntarily and may transfer to active at any time upon request.

In 1980, Hunter was recruited to run for Congress in what was then the 42nd District against 18-year incumbent Democrat Lionel Van Deerlin. Hunter was initially an underdog, but his attacks on Van Deerlin's record on national defense gained traction in a district dominated by military bases and personnel. Van Deerlin did not respond quickly enough, and Hunter narrowly defeated him. He was one of many Republicans swept into office from historically Democratic districts as a result of the "Reagan revolution." Van Deerlin had been the district's only congressman since its creation in 1963. After the 1980 census, many of the more Democratic areas were cut out of Hunter's district, and he hasn't faced serious opposition since. In his district, he consistently gets over 60% of the Hispanic vote and nearly 70% of the Democratic vote.

In 1994, Hunter legislatively mandated the construction of 14 miles of security fencing on the international land border separating San Diego County and Tijuana, Mexico. As a result, San Diego's crime rate decreased 53% from 1994 to 2006 and the smuggling of illegal immigrants and narcotics decreased by over 90%, according to the FBI. Hunter became chairman of the House Armed Services Committee in 2002. As such, he has sponsored legislation authorizing defense department fiscal year activities from FY2004 to FY2007. During consideration of the FY2006 Defense Authorization Act, Hunter offered an amendment to the bill clarifying enacted policy restricting women from direct combat units. According to The New York Times, Hunter's efforts would have "barred women from nearly 22,000 jobs". Hunter's amendment codified existing Army policy enacted in 1994 under former Defense Secretary Les Aspin that prohibited women from submitting or migrating into combat units or operations. The amendment was subsequently withdrawn in order for a study to be conducted on the rationale and future implementation of the policy.

On April 28, 2004, Hunter introduced legislation that he said could "turn parents into prosecuting attorneys fighting a wave of obscenity." HR 6390 IH, also called the "Parents Empowerment Act", would allow the parent or guardian of a minor to sue in federal court anyone who knowingly disseminates material "that is harmful to minors", or specifically, "any pornographic communication, picture, image, graphic image file, article, recording, writing, or other pornographic matter of any kind", if it is distributed in a way that "a reasonable person can expect a substantial number of minors to be exposed to the material and the minor, as a result to exposure to the material, is likely to suffer personal or emotional injury or injury to mental or moral welfare."

In November 2004, Hunter and Wisconsin Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner withheld their support for a bill creating a National Intelligence Director (DNI) until specific conditions were met. Hunter argued that the military is the biggest consumer of intelligence and any reforms enacted, including the creation of a DNI, must not endanger the lives of troops on the battlefield. The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act, which created the DNI position, was passed by Congress and signed by President George W. Bush later that year.

Hunter introduced H.R. 552, The Right to Life Act, on February 2, 2005. The purpose of the bill is to "implement equal protection ... for the right to life of each born and preborn human person." In the 109th Congress, the legislation collected 101 cosponsors. Hunter states that The Right to Life Act "would legally define “personhood” as the moment of conception and, therefore, guarantee all constitutional rights and protections, including life, to the unborn without utilizing a constitutional amendment." Hearings for H.R. 552 were scheduled for December 12, 2006, but were cancelled right before the House adjourned.

In a House Armed Services Committee hearing on November 9, 2005, Hunter strongly criticized a Defense Logistics Agency "prime vendor" buying program that led to the purchase of $20 ice cube trays and a tiny refrigerator for $22,797 (initially exposed by The State). Hunter stated that he wanted explanations from the companies in question and the government purchasing agents who had approved the purchases, accusing the latter of "absolute incompetence." He further stated that the purchases are "a real slap in the face to the guy making $13,000 a year who is engaged in a firefight in Ramadi," and claimed that "A fairly large amount of incompetence is embedded into the system."

In November 18, 2005, in response to Pennsylvania Congressman John Murtha's resolution to terminate the deployment of United States forces in Iraq, to redeploy the forces already involved in Iraq, and to "pursue security and stability in Iraq through diplomacy", Hunter and other Republicans drafted a two-sentence counter-resolution which read: "Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the deployment of United States forces in Iraq be terminated immediately. Resolved, That it is the sense of the House of Representatives that the deployment of United States forces in Iraq be terminated immediately." The bill was defeated, 403-3, in the House of Representatives.

On January 31, 2007, Hunter held a press conference on the 2007 Chinese anti-satellite missile test, stating that it "represents the commencement of a new era of military competition in space." He contended that the United States' ability to engage in warfare depends heavily on its space assets, and opined that the country must take steps to "ensure our forces cannot be targeted through an adversarial space strike."

Hunter has repeatedly voted against international trade agreements such as NAFTA, CAFTA and the WTO. Hunter contends that free trade policies directly impact America's manufacturing base and contribute to the country's trade deficit. Hunter cites that China has a 17% subsidy for its manufacturers, a 17% tax on U.S. imports, and the Chinese devalue their currency at 40 percent, making Chinese goods cheaper and leaving U.S. manufacturers at a 74% disadvantage.

Due to the success of previous legislation that Hunter had mandated in 1994 to construct 14 miles of security fencing on the international land border separating San Diego County and Tijuana, Mexico, Hunter introduced new legislation calling for the construction of a reinforced fence along the entire U.S.-Mexico border. After successfully adding an amendment to a House-passed  bill that ultimately stalled in House-Senate negotiations, Hunter's amendment was later incorporated into H.R. 6061, the Secure Fence Act, introduced by New York Congressman Peter King. Hunter has said that if he becomes President, the 754 mile double layer border fence will be built in less than 12 months. 

In March of 2007, Hunter announced that he would retire from Congress at the end of the current session. His son, Duncan Duane Hunter, is campaigning to succeed his father, although he has not yet officially announced his candidacy. In a March 2007 South Carolina straw poll conducted in the Spartanburg area, Hunter finished a close third (by six votes) in a statistical tie with McCain (1st) and former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani (2nd). Commenting on Hunter’s showing, Spartanburg Republican Gerald Emory said, “Now we have a true Ronald Reagan conservative that we can support. This is a proud night for the Grand Ole Party.”

On April 17, 2007, Hunter won the Anderson County (South Carolina) straw poll with 48% of the vote. South Carolina is the nation's third primary state. He defeated former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney (25%) by more than two to one, and McCain (7%) by nine to one. Giuliani (5%) came in a distant fourth. Hunter also tied for second place in Geenwood County and second place in Pickens County. Hunter stated "I am grateful to the great conservatives of Anderson, Greenwood, and Pickens Counties for giving our campaign a huge boost."


Platform Issues -


I would amend the U.S. Constitution and provide blanket protection to all unborn children from the moment of conception by prohibiting any state or federal law that denies the personhood of the unborn. Likewise, I have also introduced the Right to Life Act, which would legally define “personhood” as the moment of conception and, therefore, guarantee all constitutional rights and protections, including life, to the unborn without utilizing a constitutional amendment.



I support a balanced federal budget, with additional revenue provided by economic growth, not increased taxes. Further, I support limiting growth in non-defense areas. A balanced federal budget is a priority for our national economic health and long-term prosperity.  Throughout my tenure in Congress, I have fought for federal spending to provide for our national and homeland security, as directed by the U.S. Constitution, and funding increases in both of these arenas will be necessary in the future to keep our families safe and secure. Budgetary savings must be identified through efficiency reforms throughout the federal government.  Furthermore, we must aggressively attack the creation and funding of duplicative federal programs, many of which simply do not perform but cost taxpayers millions of their hard-earned dollars.  According to Office of Management and Budget, 28% of federal programs are either ineffective or have results that are not demonstrated.  Reforming, combining or eliminating those programs remains among my highest legislative priorities.

Constitutional Issues:

I believe the current decisional law on the Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses of the First Amendment is inconsistent and flawed.  For example, the recent decisions on the Ten Commandment display, where the Supreme Court ruled that in Texas it is appropriate to have a Ten Commandments monument on the courthouse grounds, but in Kentucky  the same display violates the Establishment Clause. The Founding Fathers developed these clauses to guarantee the right of all citizens to worship and to protect the church from the state, not to strip religion from the everyday lives of Americans. 

I am deeply concerned with the Supreme Court's 5-4 decision greatly broadening local government's use of eminent domain in Kelo vs. New London and believe it is important that Congress protect the property rights of private landowners and curb the government from excessive regulatory takings. It is for this reason that I voted in favor of expressing the grave disapproval of the House of Representatives regarding the majority opinion in the Kelo case.

I firmly believe that marriage is one of the most important social institutions we have and that it is central to promoting family values and raising children in a healthy environment. It is for this reason that I cosponsored and voted in favor of H.J. Res. 88 (Musgrave-CO), which proposes an amendment to the U.S. Constitution declaring that marriage in the United States shall consist solely of the union of a man and a woman. I firmly believe that children need the unique influence offered by both a father and a mother.

I strongly believe Congress needs to remain actively involved in ensuring parents’ rights are protected and I have significant concerns with recent judicial rulings recognizing “de-facto” or “psychological” parents, individuals who assist in raising a child. These types of decisions undermine parental authority, allowing any adult with an association with the child to make parental claims.

It seems every election year, some liberal politician dons an NRA cap and grabs a shotgun for a hunting photo-op, as if that means they support our right as Americans to keep and bear arms. I, myself, thoroughly enjoy hunting, having just recently spent a great weekend hunting elk in Arizona. But, the second amendment is not about hunting. It is about the right of you and me to be secure in our homes. We must vigorously defend against all attempts to chip away at the Second Amendment. You know as well as I do that there is one thing criminals prefer over any other: unarmed victims.


Judicial Appointments:

I support people with good judgment, proven values, a belief in God, and a heart for the least of us, including the unborn. I believe it is important that those sitting on the bench understand that they have a responsibility to strictly interpret our nation’s laws and not legislate from the bench with their own political or social agenda.

Values Issues:

In the past, Congress has considered legislation that would allow the federal government to assist local authorities in the investigation and prosecution of crimes motivated by a person's race, color, national origin, sexual orientation, or religion. Current law allows the federal government to intervene in cases deemed hate crimes only if they occur on federal property, or if the victim was participating in one of six very specific activities, such as voting.

I voted in favor of the Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act of 2005, which increases the penalties for violations by television and radio broadcasters who transmit obscene, indecent, and profane material on public airwaves.

I believe gambling is a serious problem in today’s society, every much as addictive and destructive as alcohol and illegal drugs. As a result, this problem is equally deserving of as much attention in terms of federal policy. Unfortunately, those individuals who spend most of their money gambling are the ones who have the least amount to lose, often choosing to gamble instead of taking care of their families.



I believe we can educate students more effectively by returning school curriculum prerogatives to the states, local communities and, most importantly, to the family. State agencies charged with conducting education policies do not need expensive and inefficient mandates from a federal agency and I support streamlining the responsibilities of the U.S. Department of Education toward a goal of working in cooperation with local and state governments to meet local and state learning levels.

I support taking the actions necessary to strengthen our public educational system and school vouchers are a great opportunity to provide students and their families with additional educational choices. According to national studies, a significant percentage of high school students have difficulty reading at a proficient level, test well below the international average in math and science, and lack basic knowledge in history. Clearly, parents have a reason to be concerned. Many Americans support innovative plans that address our current education shortcomings and I believe school vouchers are an effective way of achieving this goal. Taking into consideration that approximately 2 million children are taught at home, it is important that we make every effort to ensure these students have the same access and opportunities to federal benefits, such as financial aid, as those who attend public school.

Families and Taxes:

The current tax code unfairly imposes a penalty on married couples and I believe legislative action is needed immediately. In 2001, Congress passed the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act (EGTRRA) to, among other things, provide marriage tax penalty relief to America’s working married couples. These changes are phased in over several years while, at the same time, all of the changes in EGTRRA will expire after 2010. Taking into consideration that the current tax code has a sunset on the marriage penalty solution, it is imperative that Congress pass legislation to make this provision permanent. It is not only equitable, but prevents sending a message that married couples should be treated differently than singles.

I firmly support reform of the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) and believe it is the most pressing individual income tax issue facing Americans today. This tax regulation was created in 1969 in an effort to close certain loopholes and ensure that a small number of extremely high-income taxpayers paid a fair share of the federal income tax. However, the lack of indexation of the AMT, coupled with the recent reductions in regular income taxes, has greatly expanded the potential impact of this tax. Absent congressional action, the AMT will "take back" most of the tax relief granted through income tax reform.

I believe our current tax code is full of antiquated policies that were installed for a specific reason and for a specific time, but never removed. For example, the Federal Telephone Excise Tax was first enacted in 1898 to help pay for the Spanish-American War when telephones were considered a "luxury." While this tax was initially applied to long-distance service, it was later extended to general phone service in 1941 and currently applies to all telecommunication services, which include standard and wireless telephone services, as well as computer Internet connections. This tax unfairly targets Americans that rely on telephone service as a primary means of communication. For those on fixed incomes, including our nation's elderly and disabled, it is often difficult to avoid excessive telecommunication charges, especially in today's information age.


Foreign Policy:

I believe in peace through strength. I believe in a policy that supports U.S. interests by spreading freedom within the limits of U.S. capability. I also believe in ending the one-way street on trade.

The greatest protection of human rights in this decade has been the overthrow of the Taliban in Afghanistan and the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in Iraq . Religious freedom is part and parcel of any free society the U.S. stands up.

As House Armed Services Chairman, I recognize Israel as America ’s most important ally in the Middle East region. As a result, I strongly support Israel’s right to exist and efforts to defend itself and I have consistently voted in favor of providing federal funding for Israel’s defense systems, including missile defense.

I also strongly support U.S. efforts to establish free societies in Iraq and Afghanistan.

International Law & Institutions:

I would increase the burden-sharing by member nations other than the U.S. In addition, I voted in favor of H.R. 2745 (Hyde-IL), the Henry J. Hyde United Nations Reform Act of 2005, implementing significant reforms that will create a more accountable and focused United Nations.

Treaties that infringe on basic U.S. sovereignty should be rejected while international treaties that reign in tyrants may be of value.

For many years, I have been concerned with the United Nations’ programs that promote abortion as an acceptable alternative in family planning efforts. Since 1973, U.S. law has prohibited the direct use of federal funds to pay for abortions overseas and I have supported restrictions, known as Mexico City Policy, which prohibit federal funding to international family planning groups that provide abortion or counseling services.


Empowering the Poor:

An over-taxing government is the biggest contributor to creating poverty. By continuing to inhibit the economic growth and potential of our citizens, we prevent the investment capability to create jobs, increase income and provide a stable financial environment. I believe all citizens are deserving of tax relief and tax-cutting policies benefit the American economy as a whole. I do not support efforts to identify segments of our society that are more deserving of a tax cut over another and I believe political stereotyping in this area hinders the goal of providing efficient tax relief. It is important to create a federal tax policy that is both fair to American taxpayers while, at the same time, ensuring that our nation meets its financial obligations. Tax reform efforts should achieve the dual goals of improving the tax code system and allow taxpayers to keep more of their money to support their families, save for their futures, and protect their businesses and assets. It is for this reason that I have supported several tax relief packages passed in Congress that have reduced taxes and helped spur the economy by allowing hard working American taxpayers to keep more of the money they earn to invest in their futures.


Voting Record -

For Hunter's Voting Record on issues such as Abortion, Civil Rights, Environment, Gun Control, Immigration, and more, please see:



“Our success in protecting America from terrorists is completely dependant upon our ability to obtain and utilize reliable intelligence data. Our national intelligence and defense communities must be provided with the tools necessary to identify, track, stop and prosecute terrorists before they have the opportunity to strike. The fact that America has not been attacked since September 11th indicates to me that we are on the right course. I am confident we can remain on that course by providing our intelligence agencies with the resources they need while, at the same time, maintaining our commitment to the continued protection of our civil rights.”

"The cornerstone of our responsibilities as elected officials is to defend and protect the American people. This was reinforced with the attacks of September 11th, which immediately made border security a national security issue. Protecting our homeland begins at our nation’s borders and it is imperative that our border enforcement agencies be provided with the necessary resources to ensure that we know both who and what are entering the country. I believe in providing Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement corps with sufficient strength to secure our borders and providing for interior enforcement throughout the country because it is imperative in our fight to protect Americans. To not do so can only be characterized as irresponsible."

“American workers are the most productive and innovative labor force in the world. Unfortunately, they are asked to compete in an unfair environment against other workers who make only a fraction of a living wage and are employed by companies that face few, if any, responsibilities to the environment or the long-term prospects of their employees. Our domestic manufacturers are forced to compete against foreign companies that benefit from their country’s currency and regulatory regimes. Ominously, China is cheating on trade and using billions of American trade dollars to build ships, planes and missiles at an alarming rate while, at the same time, taking millions of American jobs. I will reverse this “one-way street” with a new policy of fair trade for the American worker."

"I have significant concerns with federal funding provided to the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA). As many Americans know, the NEA provides direct grants to art institutions, programs of national significance and a few limited individual grants for literature and music fellowships. I believe the creative arts can play an important role in the expressive and cultural development of our society. At the same time, however, I strongly oppose using these federal funds for any group that produces material that has questionable artistic, scientific or political value. For that reason, I have consistently voted against funding increases for the NEA and I have supported, and will continue to support, efforts to transfer NEA funds to school art programs."

"America’s one-way-street trade relationship with China and other nations has reduced manufacturing jobs severely in the U.S. I would change the one-way-street into a two-way-street by putting the same charges on foreign goods that they put on ours. My basic philosophy is to teach and train and inspire rather than simply give government “hand outs.”


We thank the following resources:

Duncan Hunter Official Website
USA Today
Project Vote Smart
On the Issues



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