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Voters In 50th Congressional District Seek Balance In A Representative

A scenic view of Julian, California, is shown in this undated photo.

Credit: Courtesy of SAVOR SAN DIEGO

Above: A scenic view of Julian, California, is shown in this undated photo.

Some say Julian is the apple of the 50th District’s eye.

Nestled in apple orchards and old gold mines, the slice of small-town America is what the slow and easy lifestyle has preserved.

Teak Nickoles grew up in Julian, moved away and recently moved back home.

“I think that people that come to Julian, that live in Julian, appreciate the natural beauty. They appreciate being in a less crowded area. A lot of people come from San Diego and other cities and they’re looking for something a little bit quieter,” said Nickoles.

Video by Katie Schoolov

Nickoles, who hasn't decided which candidate he'll vote for, feels many voters are looking for a congressional representative who won't upset the applecart.

Carla Hendee is one of those voters and said, “I’ve always voted for Duncan Hunter, always."

For her, that vote has always been about protecting the generational wealth that was given to her family a century ago.

“We own 10 acres of a homestead that was homestead in 1918 on Boulder Creek Road. So, it’s an 80-acre homestead, and we pay taxes on 10 acres. It’s divided between the grandkids,” said Hendee.

She said the current criminal investigation into Duncan Hunter’s campaign spending won’t change her voting loyalty, even though two other Republicans are also running. They are small business owner Shamus Sayed and El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells.

RELATED: El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells Challenging Rep. Duncan Hunter For 50th District Seat

The same is true for Gail Edwards and her husband, who were in town enjoying the Victorian charm of the former Robinson Hotel, opened by freed slaves back in 1897.

“I’ve always voted for him (Hunter). I've always voted for him every chance and his father," she said. Hunter's father, who shares the same name, held the congressional seat from 1981 until his retirement in 2009.

Edwards said the younger Hunter also gets her vote because of one issue she is particularly passionate about. “For the most part, he stands for what I stand for. Obviously, I don't agree 100 percent with every politician out there, but there are things that he stands for that I stand for, most specifically he stands for life,” she said.

Immigration is another issue Edwards agrees with Hunter on.

“I’m not in favor of sanctuary cities. I believe the term illegal aliens represents the term illegal,” she said.

RELATED: Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar Counting On Underrepresented Voters In 50th District

Three Democrats are challenging Hunter for the 50th District: Business owners Patrick Malloy and Ammar Campa-Najjar, and former Navy SEAL Josh Butner. Independent Richard Kahle is also running for the seat.

At a recent rally for Campa-Najjar, Valley Center voter Jim Nielson was among a crowd of people chanting, "No human being will ever be illegal." He said he hopes voters will "flip" the 50th from Republican to Democrat. "Even though I’d be considered a moderate Democrat, I'm not in favor of the policies Hunter has done, and I’m hoping that through Ammar’s leadership we can flip the 50th and make it a Democrat so we can help more people,” Nielson said. “Duncan Hunter is our representative and so far he really hasn’t reached out to anyone except who has his exact viewpoint,” said Nielson.

Still, the district has been Republican for nearly 40 years. However, longtime Hunter supporters like Gail Edwards say there is a push for a candidate who can balance history with progress. “We have a large population that doesn’t necessarily want to progress and grow," she said. "They want to stay small. They want to stay comfortable in their old school, old country feel. So, there is a mix of people who want to progress and people who don’t want to progress."

Some say Julian is the apple of the 50th District’s eye.

Nestled in apple orchards and old gold mines, the slice of small-town America is what the slow and easy lifestyle has preserved.

Transcript

Logo for Cal Dream project The California Dream Project is a statewide collaboration focused on issues of economic opportunity, quality-of-life, and the future of the California Dream. Partner organizations include CALmatters, Capital Public Radio, KPBS, KPCC, and KQED.

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