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Rep. Duncan Hunter discusses charges of misuse of campaign funds, chances of re-election

Posted: 2:09 PM, Aug 28, 2018
Updated: 2018-08-28 19:28:08Z

SAN DIEGO — Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-California) spoke Tuesday morning to a group of women who support him despite accusations that he and his wife misused campaign funds.

“Women Volunteers in Politics” gathered for the speech at the Bali Hai restaurant on Shelter Island, near the district in southern California which Hunter represents. The event was booked months before Rep. Hunter’s indictment.

Hunter spoke to Scripps station KGTV before the event.

“Leave my wife out of it, leave my family out of it. It’s me they’re after anyway. They’re not after my wife; they want to take me down, that’s what they’re up to. So let’s get this in the arena and have this settled,” said Hunter.

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Hunter and his wife Margaret pleaded not guilty to dozens of charges last week in federal court. The couple is accused of spending about $250,000 in campaign funds on vacations and personal items while falsifying spending reports.

Many supporters said they would stand by his side because he is innocent until proven guilty.

“That's what's unfair about this, it's almost like they are guilty before he's even had a chance to go to trial and defend himself, and that's what's unfair this is when we're back in the caveman days,” Margie Morrison said.

Hunter said he would speak to the women's group about the “Republican Party, Donald Trump, Congress, plans for the future. What we’re going to do, how we’re going to win and make America great again.”

Despite the indictment, a 10News/Union-Tribune poll shows 47 percent of the Duncan's constituents would still vote for Hunter over his opponent, Ammar Campa-Najjar.

KGTV asked Hunter whether he would have a good chance of holding his congressional seat during the trial.

“I think so, but it’ll be up to the people," Hunter said when asked if he feels he has a good chance of retaining his seat. "They’ve had almost a decade of my service. I’m the most prolific legislator in the county/”

In an opinion article written for USA Today , Hunter claimed the indictment was politically motivated.

"My constituents can recognize a political agenda when they see it, and they can disregard empty rhetoric when they hear it. I am looking forward to taking this to court,” Hunter wrote.

Hunter was ordered to turn over his weapons during last week’s court appearance. He did not respond to questions about his weapons.