- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Rep. Duncan Hunter still leads in a new poll in his push for re-election even after he was indicted on charges of misusing campaign funds for personal purposes.

Mr. Hunter, a California Republican, led Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar 47 percent to 39 percent, according to a Survey USA poll.

Most voters are aware of the charges, and a plurality said they believed the indictment was politically motivated.

Even many of those planning to vote for Mr. Hunter said they would prefer another Republican — but are ready to vote for Mr. Hunter if he’s the only choice.

Under California’s elections system, known as a jungle primary, the two candidates who get the most votes in the primary face off in the general election, regardless of party.

Mr. Hunter was the top vote-getter in the June primary with Mr. Campa-Najjar the runner-up, and thus his opponent.

Mr. Hunter has said he will defend himself against the charges and will run for re-election.

There’s some question as to whether, if he dropped out, his name could be replaced on the ballot. If he were to drop out and no replacement was named, 38 percent of voters in the poll said they’d still vote for him, compared to 42 percent for Mr. Campa-Najjar. The other 20 percent were undecided on what they would do.

If another Republican were able to replace Mr. Hunter on the ballot that person leads in the polling 51-36 over Mr. Campa-Najjar, the Survey USA poll found.

Mr. Hunter and his wife stand accused of using campaign-raised cash to take trips or pay for personal items.

The House GOP has removed him from his committee assignments while the case against him is pending.

• Stephen Dinan can be reached at sdinan@washingtontimes.com.

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