August 22, 2018
Rep. Duncan Hunter of California was indicted Tuesday and charged with the illegal use of campaign funds over a seven year period. House Speaker Paul Ryan indicated Hunter would be removed from his committee assignments until the matter is resolved.
Hunter is in his fifth term representing a conservative San Diego-area district that supported Donald Trump by 15% in the 2016 election. Only seven of the state's 53 congressional districts voted for the president over Hillary Clinton that year.
Hunter was renominated in California's top-two primary in June. Even if he were to decide not to run, there is no good mechanism to remove his name from the November ballot. Additionally, California does not allow for write-in candidates.
The indictment has opened up yet another opportunity for a Democratic flip as the party attempts to gain control of the House in November. As of Wednesday morning, both Sabato's Crystal Ball and The Cook Political Report have moved this race from safe Republican to leans Republican. Nathan Gonzales of Inside Elections has not yet made a change, although he seems to have his priorities in order:
Candidates that earn any pledged delegates in Iowa will make the stage, with an alternate polling and donor path also available.
Vermont to follow Saturday; both states hold their primaries on Super Tuesday, March 3
While the nominee will be someone else, the seat being vacated by the retiring Sen. Mike Enzi is safely Republican.
The New Jersey Senator had been polling 2-3% nationally; missed the cut for Tuesday's debate
9th in our series: Idaho last voted Democratic in a presidential election back in 1964. Little reason to think that will change in 2020