Duncan D. Hunter

For his father and predecessor, see Duncan Hunter.
Duncan Hunter
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 50th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2013
Preceded by Brian Bilbray
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 52nd district
In office
January 3, 2009  January 3, 2013
Preceded by Duncan Hunter
Succeeded by Scott Peters
Personal details
Born Duncan Duane Hunter
(1976-12-07) December 7, 1976
San Diego, California, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Margaret Hunter
Children 3
Alma mater San Diego State University (BS)
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch  United States Marine Corps
Years of service 2001–2005 (Active)
2005–present (Reserve)
Rank Major
Unit 1st Battalion 11th Marines
Battles/wars War in Afghanistan
Iraq War

Duncan Duane Hunter (born December 7, 1976) is an American politician and member of the Republican Party from California who has represented San Diego County in the United States House of Representatives since 2009, representing California's 50th congressional district. The district, numbered as the 52nd District from 2009 to 2013, covers almost all of San Diego County except for the coastal and border areas. It includes the cities of Escondido, San Marcos and Santee as well as Fallbrook, Lakeside and Valley Center and mountain and desert areas stretching to the Imperial County line.

On March 20, 2007, Duncan's father, Republican Congressman Duncan Lee Hunter announced that as part of his 2008 presidential campaign, he would not seek re-election to the House of Representatives in 2008. Duncan D. Hunter announced his candidacy for his father's seat and on June 3, 2008, won the Republican primary to replace his father.

He defeated the Democratic nominee, fellow Iraq War veteran Michael D. Lumpkin, in the general election and succeeded his father in Congress. He became the first combat veteran of either Iraq or Afghanistan to serve in the U.S. Congress. As of 2014, he was one of 17 veterans of the Iraq War serving in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Hunter was re-elected to the seat in 2010. After redistricting following the 2010 United States Census, Hunter followed most of his constituents into the 50th District. He was elected to the new seat in 2012 and 2014. In Congress, Hunter has focused on military, foreign affairs and veterans issues. He serves on the Armed Services, Education and the Workforce and Transportation and Infrastructure committees, chairing the Transportation Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation.

Early life and education

Hunter was born in San Diego, California,[1] the son of Helynn Louise (née Layh) and Duncan Lee Hunter.[2][3]

He graduated from Granite Hills High School, El Cajon, California and San Diego State University, where he earned a degree in Business Administration. He started a web design company in college to help pay for tuition. Upon graduation from San Diego State, he worked full-time in San Diego as an information technology business analyst.[4]

Military service

The day after the September 11 attacks, Hunter quit his job and joined the United States Marine Corps. He attended Officer Candidates School at Marine Corps Base Quantico. Upon graduation in March 2002, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant. He subsequently served as a field artillery officer in the 1st Marine Division after the 2003 invasion of Iraq and completed a second tour in Fallujah, Iraq, in 2004, serving in Battery A, 1st Battalion, 11th Marines. During his second tour, he participated in Operation Vigilant Resolve.

In September 2005, Hunter was honorably discharged from active duty but remained in the Marine Corps Reserve. He then started a residential development company. In 2007, he was recalled to active duty and deployed to Afghanistan in support of the War in Afghanistan; this was his third tour of duty during the War on Terrorism. Hunter was honorably discharged from active duty in December 2007, but continues to serve in the Marine Corps Reserve.[5][6] Hunter was promoted to major in 2012.[7][8]

Hunter's awards include:[9]

Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
1st row Combat Action Ribbon Navy and Marine Corps Presidential Unit Citation
2nd row National Defense Service Medal Afghanistan Campaign Medal w/1 service star Iraq Campaign Medal w/2 service stars
3rd row Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal Global War on Terrorism Service Medal Sea Service Deployment Ribbon w/ 2 service stars

U.S. House of Representatives



On March 20, 2007, Hunter announced that, as part of his presidential bid, he would not seek re-election to the House of Representatives in 2008.[10]

After his son, Duncan D. Hunter, announced his candidacy for his father's seat, the younger Hunter was recalled by the United States Marine Corps to serve in the Operation Enduring Freedom – Afghanistan. On June 3, 2008, Duncan D. Hunter won the Republican primary with 72% of the vote in a four candidate field and became the Republican nominee to replace his father representing the 52nd District.[10][11]

In the general election, Hunter defeated Democratic nominee Mike Lumpkin, an Iraq War veteran, 56%–39%.[12][13]

Hunter succeeded his father, Congressman Duncan L. Hunter (R-Calif.), who retired from Congress after fourteen terms.[14] He was the first combat veteran of either Iraq or Afghanistan to serve in the U.S. Congress.[15][16][17]

As of 2014, he was one of 17 veterans of the Iraq War serving in the U.S. House of Representatives.[18]


He won re-election to a second term with 63% of the vote, defeating Ray Lutz and Michael Benoit.[19]


After redistricting, Hunter decided to run in the newly redrawn California's 50th congressional district.[20]

In the five-candidate open primary field, Hunter ranked first with 67% of the vote; Democratic nominee David Secor ranked second with 17% of the vote, qualifying for the November election.[21] In the general election, Hunter defeated Secor 68%–32%.[22]


In the primary election, Hunter finished first with 62,371 votes (70%) to Democrat James H. Kimber's 21,552 (24%). In the general election, Hunter defeated Kimber by 111,997 votes (71%) to 45,302 (29%).


Following in the footsteps of his father, Hunter's voting record has been decidedly conservative. He has a lifetime rating of 93 from the American Conservative Union. He is also a member of the Republican Study Committee, a caucus of conservative House Republicans of which his father was a longtime member.

In a 2009 interview with KPBS, Hunter expressed support for "overriding" the designation of smelt fish as an endangered species, saying that overriding it would reduce unemployment in California.[23]

He opposed the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, saying that it would "take away" the doctor-patient relationship and the right for people to choose "what type of operations they have", and that it would allow a "government bureaucrat" to make health care decisions for people. In the KPBS interview, Hunter said, "Things that you have problems with now would be exacerbated if you had government-run healthcare."[24]

At an April 2010 Tea Party movement rally in Ramona, California, Hunter advocated for the deportation of United States citizens who are the children of illegal immigrants.[25]

At the rally, Hunter said, "It's a complex issue and...you could look and say, 'You're a mean guy. That's a mean thing to do. That's not a humanitarian thing to do' ... We simply cannot afford what we're doing right now. We just can't afford it. California's going under." He confirmed the comments to San Diego County's North County Times, telling the newspaper that he supported House Resolution 1868, a measure that called for the elimination of birthright citizenship in the United States. He expressed support for the controversial 2010 Arizona immigration law, calling it a national security issue and "a fantastic starting point."[26]

In July 2010, Hunter introduced legislation into the 111th Congress to allow tobacco products to be shipped to service members serving in Iraq and Afghanistan;[27] the legislation died after being referred to committee.[28]

Hunter opposed the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, and advocated for delaying the repeal after it was ratified by U.S. President Barack Obama. In 2011, Hunter introduced legislation to require that all "four military service chiefs certify that the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell won't negatively affect their combat units."[29]

In 2011, Hunter voted for the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012.[30]

Columnist Dan Murtaugh of the Press-Register has suggested that Hunter's 2011 call to rebid the littoral combat ship program is an attempt to get federal funds for a shipyard in his district.[31] He returned to the LCS program in 2012, with a call to reduce LCS builds in favor of amphibious ships, because he had read a report that the Marines had leased a ferry with similar characteristics to the LCS and JHSV.[32]

In 2013 Hunter said the United States Navy was overworked and spread thin, and said that a "306-ship target might represent the absolute minimum capacity the navy needs".[33]

He has called for the system of awarding the Medal of Honor to be evaluated, due to the cases of Sergeant Rafael Peralta and Captain William D. Swenson.[34][35][36] Even after Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel became the third Secretary to deny the award to Peralta, Hunter maintained his pressure on the Pentagon. In late March 2014, he sent a letter asking the Pentagon to reevaluate Peralta's case, as well as the case of Bradley Kasal, who used his body to shield a fellow Marine from a grenade blast in Iraq in 2004.[37]

In 2011, Hunter opposed a complete withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan, citing the concern of an "unreliable Afghan leadership," and called upon the Obama Administration to "stop echoing a misshapen worldview that puts American interests last."[38]

In October 2012, Hunter returned from a visit to Afghanistan, as part of a congressional delegation, with a more upbeat assessment, stating "Frankly I was very skeptical last year when I went last, and have been, on whether [the Afghans] can do this, but they are."[39]

In 2013, Hunter accused the nation's military leaders of theatrics in the cuts that resulted from the failure of Congress to come to a deal to avert sequestration. He listed targeted spending reductions that he would prefer to make instead of the across the board cuts.[40]

Hunter voiced concerns regarding potentially different standards for women and men for the same direct combat positions, following the Obama Administration's decision to allow women to serve in those positions.[41][42]

On July 24, 2013, Hunter voted against the Amash amendment to rein in the domestic surveillance conducted by the NSA.[43] In October 2013 Hunter was the only Representative from San Diego County to vote against the bill which ended the nation's 16-day partial government shutdown, explaining that he voted against it because it did not reduce spending or the national debt.[44]

On December 4, 2013, Hunter commented that if war with Iran becomes inevitable, which he "sure as hell" hoped wouldn't happen, the American response should be a "massive aerial bombing campaign" including "tactical nuclear devices".[45] He also said that the culture of Middle Easterners made them unreliable negotiating partners.[46]

Hunter has strongly criticized the Army's use of its internally developed DCGS-A system for tracking battlefield intelligence. He says that an alternative technology developed by Palantir Technologies is more effective at identifying IEDs and is preferred by Army personnel.[47] He stated that if Lt. Gen. Mary A. Legere is nominated to head the Defense Intelligence Agency, he will oppose her due to her support of the DCGS-A system.[48]

Hunter has moved to block a plan by the military to ban sales of tobacco products on bases and ships, indicating that he believes servicemembers should be able to make their own choices regarding use of tobacco.[49] In 2013, he called for the United States to train and arm Syrian rebels and stated his opinion that President Obama would be breaking the law if he bombed Syria without a Congressional mandate, and that it should be considered an impeachable offense.[50][51]

In September 2014 Hunter voted against a proposal to train and arm Syrian rebels fighting against Islamic State extremists; he said the proposal didn't go far enough.[52]

In February 2016, Hunter puffed on an electronic cigarette during a committee hearing, to dramatize his opposition to a proposed federal ban on such "vaping" on airplanes; however, his colleagues on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee approved the ban.[53]

In April 2016 Hunter came under scrutiny of the FEC regarding his use of campaign funds for personal expenses.[54] Hunter and his wife, Margaret, who is paid $3,000 monthly from campaign funds in her role as campaign manager, shared a campaign fund credit card with charges being questioned. The expenses included $1,302 in charges for video games, a donation to their son's school, and dental and facial surgery. Hunter returned from international travel to address any issues, promising to correct any inappropriate or mistaken charges.[55]


Hunter introduced the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2014 (H.R. 4005; 113th Congress) into the House on February 6, 2014.[56] The bill would amend laws that govern the activities of the United States Coast Guard (USCG), the Maritime Administration (MARAD) within the Department of Transportation, and the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC).[57]

Hunter argued that the bill "improves the effectiveness of Coast Guard missions by reducing inefficient operations and enhancing oversight, places the Coast Guard's major systems acquisition program on a sustainable track, and encourages job growth in the U.S. maritime industry by cutting regulatory burdens on job creation."[58] One provision increased to 75% the proportion of food aid that must be transported on private U.S.-flagged cargo ships. The bill was signed into law on December 18, 2014.[59]

Committee assignments

2016 Presidential Election

Duncan D. Hunter endorsed Donald Trump for president on February 24, 2016, after Trump's victory in the Nevada caucuses. He and Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) were the first members of Congress to endorse Trump.[60]

California utilizes a top-two primary system, which allows all candidates to run and all voters to vote but only moves the top two vote-getters, regardless of party affiliation, to the general election.

Personal life

Hunter, his wife Margaret, and their three children have lived in Lakeside, California since 2007;[61] he has previously lived in Oklahoma, Virginia and Idaho.[24]


  1. "Representative Duncan D. Hunter's biography". Project Vote Smart. One Common Ground. 2013. Retrieved May 21, 2013.
  2. Diane Bell (February 19, 2013). "District attorney happy to do her bit on jury duty". San Diego Union Tribune. Retrieved May 21, 2013.
  3. "duncan d hunter". Freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com. Retrieved 2016-11-21.
  4. Kitto, Kris (March 4, 2009). "The 'normal' life of Duncan D. Hunter". TheHill.com. Retrieved October 27, 2010.
  5. Maze, Rick (January 24, 2009). "Former Marine in Congress vows to help troops". Marine Corps Times. Retrieved February 12, 2011.
  6. Elizabeth Marie Himchak (September 7, 2011). "Battle-tested Marines lead Poway Patriotic Parade". Pomerado News. Retrieved March 10, 2013.
  7. "Biography". Congressman Duncan Hunter. United States House of Representatives. Retrieved April 28, 2013. Still a marine reservist, he was promoted to captain in 2006, and to major in 2012.
  8. Jeff Horseman (February 22, 2013). "CONGRESS: Temecula part of Hunter's district". The Press-Enterprise. Retrieved April 28, 2013. Temecula is home to a number of marines stationed at Camp Pendleton, and Hunter is a major in the Marine Corps Reserve who served two tours in Iraq and another in Afghanistan.
  9. "MOWW 2012 Distinguished Service Award Recipient" (PDF). Officer Review. The Military Order of the World Wars. 52 (1): 14. 2012. Retrieved December 17, 2012.
  10. 1 2 "Duncan Hunter's son looking to replace him in House". San Diego Union-Tribune. March 21, 2007. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
  11. Debra Bowen (June 3, 2008). "Statement of Vote" (PDF). Secretary of State. State of California. Retrieved January 24, 2013.
  12. Debra Bowen (November 4, 2008). "Statement of Vote" (PDF). Secretary of State. State of California. Retrieved January 24, 2013.
  13. Shane, Leo, III (November 6, 2008). "Six recent combat veterans win congressional races". Stars and Stripes.
  14. Clock, Michele (June 4, 2008). "Hunter takes GOP primary". San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
  15. "Rep. Duncan D. Hunter". The Arena. Politico LLC. 2012. Retrieved March 10, 2013.
  16. Chief Petty Officer Lesley Maceyak (September 12, 2012). "News: US Rep. Duncan Hunter Jr. tours Navy Lab, awards GWOT medals". Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command. San Diego. Retrieved January 6, 2015.
  17. B.J. Coleman (October 4, 2014). "Congressman Duncan D. Hunter squares off against challenger James Kimber in debate sponsored by Veterans Campaign". The Alpine Sun. Retrieved January 6, 2014.
  18. O'Toole, Molly (June 18, 2014). "Iraq War Veterans In Congress Mostly Urge Caution". Defense One. Retrieved January 5, 2015.
  19. Debra Bowen (January 6, 2011). "Statement of Vote" (PDF). California Secretary of State. State of California. Retrieved January 24, 2013.
  20. Walker, Mark (2011-08-16). "REGION: Saldana is against Bilbray as redistricting completed". U-T San Diego. Retrieved 2013-12-06.
  21. Debra Bowen (June 5, 2012). "Statement of Vote" (PDF). California Secretary of State. State of California. Retrieved January 24, 2013.
  22. Debra Bowen (November 6, 2012). "Statement of Vote" (PDF). California Secretary of State. State of California. Retrieved January 24, 2013.
  23. Hank Cook; Doug Myrland (June 11, 2009). "Rep. Duncan D. Hunter Discusses First Year in Office, Economy, Health Care". KPBS. Retrieved March 10, 2013.
  24. 1 2 Crook, Hank; Doug Myrland (June 11, 2009). "Rep. Duncan D. Hunter Discusses First Year in Office, Economy, Health Care". KPBS. Retrieved February 12, 2011.
  25. "Calif. congressman wants to deport children of illegal immigrants". USA Today. April 28, 2010.
  26. Ponting, Bob (April 29, 2010). "Congressman's call to deport children of illegals sparks firestorm". Fox 5 San Diego. Retrieved February 12, 2011.
  27. Rick Maze (August 2, 2010). "Hunter seeks loophole to let troops get smokes". Marine Corps Times. Retrieved March 10, 2013.
  28. "H.R.6037 – To amend title 18, United States Code, to provide for an exception to the prohibition against mailing tobacco products for products mailed to members of the Armed Forces serving in a combat zone.". United States Legislative Information. Library of Congress. Retrieved March 10, 2013.
  29. Penner, Gloria (January 21, 2011). "SD Congressman Challenges Don't Ask Don't Tell Repeal". KPBS. Retrieved February 12, 2011.
  30. Sheets, Connor (December 16, 2011). "NDAA Bill: How Did Your Congress Member Vote?". International Business Times. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
  31. Murtaugh, Dan. "Congressman asks for LCS program review, possible rebidding", Press-Register, July 7, 2011.
  32. Robbins, Gary. "Hunter: Navy may need fewer littoral combat ships", San Diego Union-Tribune, September 14, 2012.
  33. Jeanette Steele (February 6, 2013). "Hunter Opposes Plan for Smaller Navy Fleet". San Diego Union Tribune. Retrieved February 7, 2013.
  34. Charles Hoskinson (October 12, 2011). "Defense too stingy with Medal of Honor, says Duncan Hunter". Politico. Retrieved January 18, 2013.
  35. Stephen Dinan (August 13, 2012). "Congressman: Medal of Honor system broken". Washington Times. Retrieved January 25, 2013.
  36. John Wilkens (December 23, 2012). "The changing process of awarding military's highest medal: Peralta case an example of modern methods interfering with witness accounts, vets say". San Diego Union Tribune. Retrieved January 25, 2013.
  37. "Lawmaker: Grant all Marines who cover grenades the Medal of Honor". March 25, 2014.
  38. Duncan D. Hunter (June 3, 2011). "How to handle Afghanistan". Politico. Retrieved January 26, 2013.
  39. Gretel C. Kovach (October 20, 2013). "Hunter reports progress in Afghan war effort". San Diego Union Tribune. Retrieved January 26, 2013.
  40. Rowan Scarborough (February 17, 2013). "Pentagon aims ax to make a point with sequester cuts, uses worst-case scenarios to force deal". Washington Times. Retrieved November 21, 2016. As for alternatives to postponing ship deployments, Mr. Hunter suggests cutting a Navy pet project—its Green Fleet—and stop funding the Army's $28 billion battlefield intelligence processor, which has flunked operational tests.
  41. Rick Maze (March 8, 2013). "Hunter fears lax standards for women in combat". Army Times. Retrieved March 12, 2013.
  42. Jeff Horseman (February 22, 2013). "CONGRESS: Hunter has qualms about women in combat". The Press-Enterprise. Retrieved March 6, 2013.
  43. "Amash amendment: the full roll call". The Guardian. Retrieved July 24, 2013.
  44. Walker, Mark (October 17, 2013). "Duncan Hunter explains 'no' vote on shutdown bill; Alpine Republican was county congressional delegation's only vote against deal". San Diego Union Tribune. Retrieved November 5, 2013.
  45. "Hunter: If You Hit Iran, Do It With Tactical Nuclear Devices". Washington Free Beacon. Retrieved 2013-12-04.
  46. Bennett, John T. "Rep. Hunter: US Should Use Tactical Nukes on Iran if Strikes Become Necessary". defensenews.com. Gannett Government Media Corporation. Retrieved December 4, 2013.
  47. Carter, Sara (April 22, 2014). "'Matter of Life and Limb': The Congressman Who's Going to Battle With the Army Over a Software Program". The Blaze. Retrieved May 14, 2014.
  48. Matishak, Martin (May 2, 2014). "Rep. Hunter opposes possible nominee to lead Pentagon spy agency". The Hill. Retrieved May 14, 2014.
  49. Shane III, Leo (May 7, 2014). "Lawmakers move to block Navy plan to restrict tobacco sales". www.navytimes.com. Gannett. Retrieved October 2, 2014.
  50. Horseman, Jeff (August 27, 2013). "SYRIA: Duncan Hunter visits border, urges arming opposition group". pe.com. The Press-Enterprise. Retrieved October 10, 2014.
  51. Dinan, Stephen (September 3, 2013). "Hunter: Obama inviting impeachment if he strikes Syria without Congress". washingtontimes.com. The Washington Times. Retrieved October 10, 2014.
  52. Jennewein, Chris (September 17, 2014). "Rep. Hunter Is Lone S.D. Vote Against Obama's Syria Request". timesofsandiego.com. Times of San Diego LLC. Retrieved October 10, 2014.
  53. "California Rep. Duncan Hunter Vapes During Congressional Hearing on Use of E-Cigarettes on Planes". KTLA-5. February 11, 2016. Retrieved February 12, 2016.
  54. FEC questions Duncan Hunter's video game charges, The San Diego Union Tribune, April 5, 2016.
  55. "Hunter to cut short Israel trip, repay campaign funds", San Diego Union Tribune, April 7, 2016.
  56. "H.R. 4005 – Summary". United States Congress. Retrieved April 1, 2014.
  57. "H.R. 4005 – CBO". Congressional Budget Office. Retrieved April 1, 2014.
  58. Jim Billimoria; Justin Harclerode (February 6, 2014). "Committee Leaders Introduce Coast Guard & Maritime Transportation Bill". House Transportation Committee. Retrieved April 1, 2014.
  59. "H.R. 5769 (113th): Howard Coble Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2014". govtrack.us. Retrieved February 12, 2016.
  60. Gass, Nick (1973-11-21). "Duncan Hunter endorses Donald Trump". Politico.com. Retrieved 2016-11-21.
  61. Official Congressional Directory, 2011–2012: 112th Congress, Convened January 2011. Government Printing Office. 2012. p. 44. ISBN 9780160886539. Retrieved May 21, 2013.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Duncan D. Hunter.
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Duncan Hunter
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 52nd congressional district

Succeeded by
Scott Peters
Preceded by
Brian Bilbray
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 50th congressional district

United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Jim Himes
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Lynn Jenkins
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