San Diego

‘Security Briefing' or ‘Sideshow': 50th District Campaign Latest

Ammar Campa-Najjar is challenging incumbent U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter for his congressional seat in the Nov. 6 election.

Former Congressman Duncan Hunter, Sr. faced his son's political opponent Tuesday in front of the Midway Museum for what he described as a "security briefing."

Ammar Campa-Najjar, who is challenging incumbent U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter for his congressional seat in the Nov. 6 election, said it was more like a "sideshow."

Hunter described how Campa-Najjar's grandfather, now deceased, was behind the Munich Massacre and attempted to assassinate Golda Meir. He also said the Democratic candidate is the son of a man who was a member of the Palestinian Liberation Organization for decades.

“This has nothing to do with race, this has to do with terrorism,” the former congressman said.

The historically Republican 50th District could go to a Democrat in the midterm elections. 

The younger Hunter and his wife Margaret Hunter, who served as his campaign manager, were indicted in August and accused of misusing campaign funds to finance family trips to Italy and Hawaii, golf outings, school tuition, theater tickets and even fast food purchases. Both have pleaded not guilty in federal court.

Hunter, Sr. did not address the felony charges his son faces when he met with the media on Tuesday. 

He did share additional information about Campa-Najjar’s heritage which was the subject of a recent campaign mailer. 

An ad against Ammar Campa-Najjar questions his background, with some calling it "shameful." NBC 7's Bridget Naso has more.

A controversial Hunter campaign ad revealed to many that Campa-Najjar’s grandfather was involved in the 1972 massacre in Munich. . He said the candidate's grandfather also attempted to assassinate former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir but the attempt failed.

Hunter, Sr. talked about Campa-Najjar's father who resigned from the PLO in the spring after working with the organization for 23 years and showed an image of the candidate with his father. 

Campa-Najjar spoke after Hunter and called the media event "an act of desperation." 

“Daddy is not going to bail him out this time,” Campa-Najjar said of the incumbent. “I don’t need my dad to stand here to fight my battles. I’m my own man.”

Duncan Hunter, Sr. holds up a photo of Democratic challenger Ammar Campa-Najjar that shows Campa-Najjar's father.

He said the image of him and his father was taken on Father's Day in 2015 when his father was in San Diego for the first time since 1995. 

He said he posted the image on social media. 

“I felt like after the pain of his life, I needed to give him an olive branch,” the candidate explained.

He was granted security clearance in 2016 by the FBI after he had posted the image.

Campa-Najjar said his grandfather was associated with something that was heinous and wrong and disavows the murder of innocent people. He added that he never met his grandfather who died years before he was born.

His father, he said, wants to be an advocate for peace. 

"This is a symptom of Hunter not understanding personal accountability. His family, his wife and his children are not responsible for his actions," the Democratic challenger said.

"In the same way, I’m not responsible for the actions of my family.”

The Munich Massacre happened in Berlin, Germany in September 1972. 

Eight members of the Palestinian group Black September took 11 Israeli athletes and coaches hostage. The Palestinian attackers demanded Israel release prisoners in exchange for the hostages.

Five athletes, six coaches and a West German police officer were killed in a botched rescue attempt. 

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