California Democrat James Kimber Looks to Take Out Duncan D. Hunter Next November

james kimber


This is James H. Kimber. He is a Democratic candidate for Congress out of Calfornia’s 50th District. I recently had a chance to talk to Mr. Kimber about his campaign. I was contacted by him personally after I ran an article about his district in our site’s Taking Back the House series. Mr. Kimber wanted to discuss with me why I might be wrong about thinking that it there was a ‘very low’ chance for the district to turn Blue.


James Kimber is a veteran who served 20 years in the Navy. When he retired, he was a Senior Chief Hospital Corpsman. He now works as a Physician’s Assistant at Palomar Medical Center in Escondido, CA. Kimber has never held or run for office before. However, based on how he feels about his district and its constituents, he’s decided to run now. In fact, he’s been campaigning for over a year now, pretty much since the moment current Republican Congressman Duncan D. Hunter won reelection last year.


I asked Mr. Kimber straight up: What made you want to run against Hunter in this district? He pointed to a speech that Congressman Hunter gave in May 2012 at a town hall meeting. It was during that town hall that Hunter stated that he votes with his conscience and that he would not run for office again if he felt his ideology and principles fell out of line with that of his district. The way Kimber sees it, that is exactly what has happened in his district. He does not feel that Duncan Hunter represents what the constituents truly want or believe.



Since then, Kimber has gone and spoken to the people of his district and seen what they know about Rep. Hunter. A common occurrence has been that people believe that Hunter is actually his father, retired Rep. Duncan L. Hunter. Some have expressed shock on realizing that Duncan L. Hunter retired in 2009 and that his son was elected in his place. Kimber pointed out that Duncan D. Hunter went by his middle name, Duane, until he decided to go into politics.


On the issues, Kimber disagrees with Rep. Hunter on a number of things. The largest of which is immigration reform.  To hear Kimber describe it, Hunter’s stance on immigration amounts to three things: border security, border security and border security. In a district that has a Hispanic population of 30% and climbing, and an economy that is largely dependent on agriculture and Latino workers, this is a major hot-button issue in the area.


Other issues that Kimber feels he can challenge the incumbent on are veterans’ affairs. In a district with a very large concentration of veterans residing, Kimber feels that Rep. Hunter has not done enough to address issues surrounding veterans. While Hunter was very passionate about defending DADT when it was being repealed and objecting to women serving in combat, Kimber states that Hunter is not nearly as concerned about the high rates of suicide or domestic violence that occur with our veterans returning from combat.


Of course, the main thing that concerns voters in any district is jobs. On this, Kimber is quite optimistic that he can challenge Hunter’s record on helping out the district. Kimber has already met with several voters, as well as San Diego County Supervisor Dianne Jacob, a noted Republican, to discuss bipartisan measures to bring more jobs into the area. With the high number of agricultural jobs there due to a number of wineries (over 100), Kimber feels that the UAV industry (unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones) could be a big boon, as farms, groves and vineyards are large customers and are increasingly reliant on UAVs.


Obviously, Kimber is going to be able to show real differences of opinion and ideology with Hunter on a number of issues. The big question here is, can he win? Does he have a chance? He makes a very compelling case. He pointed out to me that the last Democratic candidate that faced Hunter, David Secor, raised a TOTAL of $300 during his 2012 campaign. Yet, he was able to secure 32% of the vote in a district that only claims 26% registered Democrats. He states that is if a non-serious Democratic candidate can pull more votes than there are registered party voters, then a serious candidate who is committed to his campaign and is out there fundraising has a legitimate chance.


Kimber feels that the Latino vote will come out strong for him. He points out that many get-out-the-vote organizations are doing a very good job of registering Hispanic voters. He also mentioned that currently, Democrat Olga Diaz is ahead in the polls by 10 points in her run for mayor of Escondido, the largest city in the district. He also mentioned that other cities in the district might see Democratic mayors soon. Other areas of support coming Kimber’s way could be from teachers, medical workers, veterans and certain business owners.


James Kimber is truly building a grassroots campaign. He has been out there pounding the pavement and listening to people everyday, sort of what we ideally think of our best leaders doing. He already knows that no other Democrats will run against him in the primary. The DNC has been very supportive and the DCCC has helped him in assembling a campaign staff. He has also picked up several endorsements, including one from California State Assembly Member Toni Atkins. When you tie all of this together, Kimber feels it will lead to a winning outcome. As he said, “A perfect storm is making it right for Duncan Hunter to lose.”



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