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Political Fix by Gloria Penner

In the fall of 1980, then Democratic Congressman Lionel Van Deerlin , who had represented a largely Democratic congressional district for 18 years, was in the KPBS studio facing his Republican challenger in a televised debate. I was the producer and moderator. Van had good-naturedly agreed to the encounter as he had many times before, although he complained to me this time that the program would be a waste of time since his re-election seemed assured. He had nine successful c38aigns as evidence. Besides, he was running against a young and unknown political novice, Republican lawyer, Duncan Hunter, 32.

So Congressman Van Deerlin casually relaxed on the TV set. His effort was bemused and minimal while long-shot Hunter sat alert and at attention during the entire debate, attacked the incumbent as weak on defense, and apparently won over the audience. A few weeks later, he won the election. (Afterwards, the new congressman told me he felt that TV appearance was a turning point. The former congressman told me the same thing.)

Now here we are 28 years later. The congressional district has a new number, new boundaries, and the 2-to-1 Democratic majority has morphed into a strong Republican voter registration. Hunter was assigned to the Armed Forces Committee and eventually became its chair, and became an avid supporter of the war in Iraq. Last year, he decided to run for president , and shortly thereafter announced that he would not seek re-election to the House of Representatives, but that his son will run to replace him.

May 10, 2008 at 12:46 AM
thanks for clarifying the duncan (d) hunter situation. i was wondering about that. pat

Dino Maiolo from Poway
May 10, 2008 at 01:36 AM
In a dominantly Republican 52nd Congressional District, Duncan Hunter Jr. will make the same mistake his father’s opponent made in 1980. He will under-estimate Retired Navy SEAL Commander and Democratic Candidate Mike Lumpkin. The Republicans believe their election will be won or lost in the primary. Indeed, Jr. will most likely win on June 3rd, but having spent most of his money in the primary and with both the RNC and RCCC unable to help fund his campaign, the Lumpkin storm will be too formidable for any Republican to overcome in the general election, whomever it may be. Granted, he’ll need Republicans to cross-over and vote for him in November but, Mike Lumpkin’s experience as a combat veteran and national security expert makes him strong on defense, which will resonate well with the conservative 52nd Congressional District. And anyone who has heard him speak, will realize very quickly how well he has a command over the issues. What makes Lumpkin such an astonishing candidate is that his positions on healthcare and the economy are well prepared and very astute, especially coming from one with a military background. Finally, as the Navy’s military liaison to Congress, Lumpkin has already got DC experience. As a Washington outsider, he was able to drive consensus among both Democrats and Republicans to provide the necessary appropriations for PTSD for our special operations troops when they return home. With such a great candidate, constituents will vote for him just because of what they’ll miss if they don’t—a strong representative for the country and one that will finally represent ALL constituents in the 52nd. Something we haven’t seen in 28 years.

Judy Ki from Poway
May 10, 2008 at 02:26 AM
I have watched Retired Navy SEAL Mike Lumpkin in several debates. He is the best candidate I have seen in San Diego County in many, many years. Mike is a patriot who has served his country for 21 years. He is intelligent, and is very well versed in all the important issues. Mike is also an expert on national security. His experience in that area will win him many independent and crossover voters. We do not want to see a dynasty reigning over the 52nd Congressional District. I would love to see Commander Lumpkin debate Jr. in the general election.

Lori Kern-Greenberg from La Mesa
May 11, 2008 at 12:49 AM
I'm of the opinion that the pendulum is swinging back toward the left in the 52nd district. As a person who registers voters in the district, we get a large majority of folks registering or changing their party affiliation to democratic or decline-to-state. Most of the republicans who are changing parties realize their party has left them behind. As Lionel Van Deerlin wrote last week in his column, La Mesa has a democratic majority for the first time in a long time. As a volunteer for Mike Lumpkin, I have seen what the Duncan D. Hunter campaign is about first hand. It's based on homophobia, the border fence, a Christian God, and continuing the Iraq war. Most of us out here are intelligent enough to realize the problems with Hunter's issues and we're looking to elect a logical person to that seat. Lumpkin's platform focuses on the important issues: the economy, getting us out of Iraq in the most responsible way possible, taking care of veterans who are suffering from PTSD or physical injuries because of this unjust war and the list goes on and on. Lumpkin is the person with the right ideas and I believe he will be elected.

michael valentine from Spring Valley
May 18, 2008 at 04:49 AM
Political dynasty families? Really? Haven't we had enough with the Bush Family? And Republicans? These are the guys who provided zero oversight of the Iraq war for the first four years. The guys playing patty cake with the K Street gang of lobbyist crooks. The party of Randy "Duke" Cunningham who is due to get out of prison in two years or so? Another fear mongering Hunter telling us that God wants a war, a fence and no gays? Thanks but no thanks. I sent Mike Lumpkin a donation today.

Steve from La Mesa
May 19, 2008 at 10:14 PM
All of you PBS loving lefties have an unlimited capacity for brainless attacks and fantasy. Dreamers, dream on. The 52nd Congressional District is one of the safest Republican districts in the country at 45% Republican, 29% Democrat. Rep. Duncan L. Hunter took the election in 2006 by 64.7% of the vote which means he ran ahead of Republican registration by 16%. Van Deerlin was asleep in 1980. I know because I was there. Duncan D. Hunter will not be asleep this year and he will raise money and campaign as if he were the underdog and was going to win or lose by one vote. Please folks, give all of your money to Lumpkin rather than some Dem in another district who actually has a chance to win! Meanwhile, enjoy your dreams.

May 21, 2008 at 04:47 PM
Come on Steve...we all know that R's outnumber D's, but at least stop exaggerating and get the numbers right. 44% R 31% D and 25% DTS/other. What that means is that 56% of the 52nd District is NOT Republican. I take it the angry tone and name calling because you're worried. You should be. Even Gilliard said he was in the paper today. See it on Red County for yourself.

Steve from La Mesa
May 21, 2008 at 07:32 PM
Yeah, the consultant always says "we're worried" because he wants to get all of his candidate's voters to the polls on election day. It is an antidote to complacency. I recall all of the other losing token Dems starting in 1982 who claimed "this is the year" to beat Duncan Sr. What were their names? Puuuleeze write a max contribution check to Lumpkin right now and not to any other Dem candidate who actually has a chance to win! But, of course, you won't because you and all your lefty pals are all mouth and no check book.

Josh from San Diego
June 03, 2008 at 03:33 PM
Alot of Democrats seem to think Mike Lumpkin is against this unconstitutional and undeclared war in Iraq...well, as I see it, he is FOR the war: as long as there is a "clear strategy for winning!" If a defined strategy for winning exists, Mike Lumpkin is for WAR, even though it is immoral and unconstitutional? Furthermore, he does not want to pull our troops out of Iraq (he wants us to continue nation building, and wants to put our men and women along the Iraqi borders so the Iraqis can have their civil war), nor does he want to pull our troops out from the Middle East and rest of the world. It seems like Lumpkin is telling jaded constituents what they want to hear. I am voting for Mike Benoit, Libertarian for 52nd district congress: he is truly against unconstitutional wars of aggression and imperialism, and is for TRUE LIBERTY, realizing the need to shackle the Federal government. Mike Benoit takes his marching orders form the US Constitution.

Joe Ryan from Ramona
June 23, 2008 at 08:20 PM
Mike Lumpkin and Duncan Hunter are two sides of the same coin; They're bought and paid for. Mr family man, Duncan Hunter JR, takes money from porn pioneers (Stu Segal, the guy that made John Holmes semi-famous), and pharmaceuticals, and of course Corky Mcmillan (thanks for the free military land in Point Loma). If re-elected, he promises another 63 million dollar 'plane-to-nowhere' (paid for out of humvee armor funds). Lumpkin won't give a straight answer on any issue that relates to anything Hunter supporters might find offensive; and he's proven to be clueless regarding matters of law (as discussed on a Daily Kos blog). And why is he taking money from EU based banks, and coachworks (armor) companies? He's also taking money from hedge fund operators and investment banking firms, and trial injury lawyers. And of course, if you gave money to the Busby for congress campaign because you wanted to see more women in congress; well, your money was re-donated to the Lumpkin campaign so he could beat up on a principled women named Vickie. Voters who tolerate such shenanigans need to develop a little pride. T this point, anybody who votes for the Democrats or Republicans must be a greedy bastard, an idiot, or a traitor. For all you Lumpkin shills out there that think you have a path to victory; there's an independent candidate named Joe Ryan in the race (that's me), and I'm going to rake both major partiy money-grubbers for the next 5 months, until there may not be a path to victory for either. Since I don't except money from anyone, not much they can say in retort. East County voters need to go to my website and e-mail me, so we can start taking back the country from the money-grubbers and their sponsors.

Lori Kern-Greenberg from La Mesa
June 23, 2008 at 08:38 PM
Josh: Mike is against the war and he will answer any question you have directly. I suggest you go talk to him. He's very honest and personable. You, Steve and Joe Ryan shouldn't waste your votes. If Lumpkin doesn't win, that means that Hunter will. I'll say it again, go talk to Mike Lumpkin. Call him on the phone or go to his office. He's accessible. For contact info, go to

Joe Ryan from Ramona
June 23, 2008 at 08:39 PM
And I'm old enough to forget to wear my reading glasses before I blog:-). Those other guys don't even need reading glasses yet.

Lori Kern-Greenberg from La Mesa
June 23, 2008 at 08:48 PM
Joe, you're so hostile. Maybe you should look into therapy...

Joe Ryan from Ramona
June 23, 2008 at 09:24 PM
Lori. Your behavior is sooo predictable. You have absolutely no defense to the charges i made, so you mock me. That' s all you traitors can do. Ignore me or mock me. How about acting like your old enough to drive, and answer the charges I made about Mike grubbing for money from EU based banks and coachworks companies (if you know what those are); instead of impugning my mental health. How freakin original. Mike knows nothing about matters of law, so he doesn't belong in congress, period. Keep answering me. Cause, you have no defense, all you can do is mock me, and then I'll follow up with more interesting facts about Mike's donors; Until I get bored with schooling you. While you shill for Mike, I'll go shoot some hoops.

Joe Ryan from Ramona
June 23, 2008 at 09:30 PM
Lori. When you wake up screaming tonight, with a vision of dancing in your head, and as you realize your dreams of capturing the independent vote are going to be crushed, please remember me. Lots of Hugs and kisses. JR

Leng Caloh, KPBS Online Managing Editor
June 23, 2008 at 09:38 PM
Hey folks, let's try to keep this civil. Let's keep the conversation about the topic at hand, not attacks against each other. Otherwise we may have to start moderating off-topic/attacking comments. Thanks.

michael valentine from spring Valley
June 23, 2008 at 09:41 PM
When did the Republican train go off the tracks? Joe, why do you hate the troops?

Lori Kern-Greenberg from La Mesa
June 23, 2008 at 09:41 PM
I'm not mocking you, I feel sorry for you. While you do make a few good points, most of what you say is ridiculous. Mike is in favor of everyone being treated equally and that includes gay marriage, he's against the war and wants us to get out in a responsible manner and he wants healthcare for everyone. He's an honest, honorable and caring man and would never attack you the way you have attacked him. Don't bother schooling me, I don't need to learn what you're dishing out.

Joe Ryan from Ramona
June 23, 2008 at 11:19 PM
Hi Michael. I'm not a third grader, so I don't answer questions based on straw men you want to knock down. Your an intellectual lightweight unworthy of my time. I will say that all the troops who got free shipping on my ac adapters to the APO addresses NOBODY else will ship to but me, don't think I hate them. I think that anyone who accepts money from the EU based banks, and the hedge funds that are starving 6 million people to death a month is a creep with blood on their hands, and that goes for anyone who blogs for them as well. Duke Cunningham pulled this stunt already around here. I honor troops with integrity, not just anybody who had the uniform at one time, and who now thinks it's OK to take money from the bank that helped put together EADS. Tell me Michael, which part about Duncan Hunter taking money porn-pioneers don't you understand? Maybe your beloved Republican party went off the tracks when they started taking porn money. Lori Greenberg is thrilled to shill for the sponsors of the global holocaust that kills 6 million a month right now. No wonder she can't be schooled, she apparently has no memory, or doesn't care about a holocaust happening now and then. Anyways, 6 million a month dying because enablers like Mike Lumpkin and Duncan Hunter take money from hedge funds, is nothing to get all worked up about, right Lori? I think I'm about done with you creeps. I have better things to do than blog with people with the blood of 6 million people a month on their hands. Maybe some other day, someone will be blogging here who can address the issues I raised about the two major party's money-grubbing ways, without attributing fabricated viewpoints to me, and without resorting to other infantile debate tactics. I won't impugn Lori's mental health; I just aver that her posts indicate she's either not well informed, or she's paid to act dumb. I'm done for today. Thanks for your vote. LuvYa. JR p.s. Hey Mike, I hate babies, I think they faked the moon-landing, and I'm anti-family too.

michael valentine from spring Valley
June 23, 2008 at 11:46 PM
Joe your a little befuddled.

michael valentine from spring Valley
June 28, 2008 at 12:01 AM
Watching this video is instructive. Eighteen years later, after eight years of Republican fiscal respectability and responsibility national public debt has doubled to nine trillion dollars. For visualization purposes a trillion dollars From 2000 the year Clinton payed down the debt by 216 billion dollars, the national debt has doubled in a nation that is 230 years old in a mere eight years. The average worker today, is sweating house payments after the biggest transfer of wealth to the richest one percent of the 'folks' since the gilded age.

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