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Challenger Mocks Ex-Marine Hunter for ‘Walking Away’ from Congress Debate

Democrat David Secor says Rep. Duncan D. Hunter demanded locale, format and moderator.

A low-budget Democrat says two-term congressman Duncan D. Hunter -- both of them are vying to be Temecula's congressman -- “seems overly sensitive for a former Marine” for declining to debate him in the 50th District race.

David Secor of Alpine and Republican Hunter of Lakeside will not debate Oct. 23 as first planned, both sides say. Negotiations broke down over the venue, moderator and format.

The heavily Republican district, formerly the 52nd but losing La Mesa, stretches from southern San Diego County into Riverside County.

Temecula's current congressman is Darrell Issa, though the city will no longer be in his district next year because of redistricting.

Secor, 65, a former Superior Court employee, told Patch on Saturday that Hunter, 35, has “decided to walk away” from the debate.

“I’ve reset the debate for the same evening, Tuesday, October 23rd,” Secor said via email.  “The venue will be in the San Marcos/Escondido/Fallbrook area. 

"Once the location is set, Mr. Hunter, who now has that evening open, will be invited to meet his new constituents.  If he refuses, the event will proceed without him.”

Dave Gilliard, a Sacramento-based political consultant representing Hunter, said:

“Mr. Secor is not being truthful. First, Rep. Hunter agreed to a debate in early October that was cancelled by the organizer. Then Rep. Hunter agreed to a debate on Oct. 23 at Cuyamaca College [in Rancho San Diego] with a traditional debate format and well-known local moderator chosen by the sponsors.

“Secor first demanded that the location be moved, then attacked the chosen moderator as being biased and finally demanded that any member of the audience be allowed to shout out questions without screening. That would be more of a riot than a true debate, so we declined and scheduled other campaign events for that day.”

Secor said his new debate proposal for North County would have a brief introduction, and then “the entire event will be questions from the audience with no filter. When location for event is set, it will be posted on my website, DavidSecorforCongress.com and publicized.”

But Gilliard said no Hunter-Secor debate will take place before Nov. 6, “due to Mr. Secor’s unreasonable demands.”

The breakdown in talks over the debate format and location gave Secor an opportunity to paint the incumbent as “overly sensitive for a former Marine.”

“I had no objections to a reasonable format,” Secor said. “My objections were to the congressman’s demand that he alone decide the format, and he alone defines ‘reasonable.’ His inability to discuss with me or make even the smallest compromise regarding something as simple as debate format make it clear why we have gridlock in Washington.”

A point of contention was having Steve Hamann as moderator. Hamann—a local auctioneer and editor of the weekly East County Herald, a photo publication—is biased toward Hunter, whom Secor says is a friend of the congressman.

Hamann was the moderator of the lone 2010 debate between Democrat Ray Lutz and Hunter at Cuyamaca College. In 2008, Hunter debated Democratic challenger Michael Lumpkin and Libertarian candidate Michael Benoit twice—at Grossmont College and Cuyamaca College.

“The congressman may call my remarks concerning the appropriateness of Mr. Hamann as moderator ‘disparaging,’” Secor said. “I have not heard him say any of them were not factual. If he denies their basis in fact, I’d appreciate advisal and after verification will retract them and apologize.”

Secor (pronounced SEA-core) said the “demand” that Hamann be moderator “shows an extreme lack of confidence in the congressman’s ability to operate in an uncontrolled environment.  His refusal to even consider a truly nonpartisan moderator from the League of Women Voters speaks volumes.”

Secor continued:

I made what I believed were good arguments during this ‘negotiation,’ certainly good enough to be considered.  The congressman rejected each and every one without discussion. Still, I reluctantly aceeded to every demand. I felt it important that the voters (our potential employers) have the opportunity to see the two job applicants at the same venue even if I had no input as to format. 

It’s disheartening to see the congressman, after having had everything his way, now cry foul, pick up the ball and go home.  Should he decide that perhaps his potential employers deserve an opportunity to interview him before giving him this most important job, I’d be more than willing to appear with him.

Hunter’s decision to withdraw from the Oct. 23 debate apparently was signaled in an Oct. 8 email from consultant Gilliard to Secor: “In light of your objections to a reasonable format and disparaging remarks about the moderator, Rep. Hunter has decided he can use his time better elsewhere, talking directly to voters. The debate is off.”

In November, Secor met Hunter briefly at a small-business seminar in La Mesa, and Secor says Hunter told him he “looked forward” to a series of town hall forums. (See video attached.)

Hunter, the son of 28-year congressman Duncan Lee Hunter, joined the Marines the day after the 9/11 attacks and served in Iraq and Afghanistan, and was honorably discharged in December 2007.

As of June 30, Hunter had raised $692,950 and spent $612,313, according to the Federal Election Commission. Secor reported raising $145 and spending $150 between Sept, 29, 2011, and June 30, 2012.

Father2Sons October 14, 2012 at 02:05 PM
Mr. Secor comes off as a whiney liberal punk trying to manipulate the discussion and the negotiation for a debate venue and format. Mr. Secor's remark about the thickness of the congressman's skin and its relevance to the congressman having been a marine is childish and beneath the office to which he seeks to be elected. r. Secor I would encourage not to throw sand when you don't get your way in the sandbox. Carry on...
Lash LaRue October 14, 2012 at 05:23 PM
To vote for a Democrat is to vote for the KKK and the Communist party. The Democrats voted in mass against the Civil Rights act and the KKK was a branch of the Democrat Party Sen Robert Byrd was a grand Dragon of the KKK. Todays Democrat party is a wing of the Communist Party that is why they showed Soviet Era battleships at the convention in North Carolina. The first grand wizard of the KKK was honored at the 1868 Democratic National Convention, no Democrats voted for the 14th Amendment to grant citizenship to former slaves and, to this day, the party website ignores those decades of racism, Three years after Appomattox, the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, granting blacks citizenship in the United States, came before Congress: 94 percent of Republicans endorsed it. The records of Congress reveal that not one Democrat either in the House or the Senate voted for the 14th Amendment.Three years after the Civil War, and the Democrats from the North as well as the South were still refusing to recognize any rights of citizenship for black Americans. South Carolina Gov. Wade Hampton at the 1868 Democratic National Convention inserted a clause in the party platform declaring the Congress' civil rights laws were "unconstitutional, revolutionary, and void." It was the same convention when Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, the first grand wizard of the KKK, was honored for his leadership.
B. McEntire October 14, 2012 at 06:50 PM
LaRue if you knew anything about Civil War History you would know that the 1868 Democratic Party is the same as the 2012 Republicican Party. Stop "learning" history on Wikipedia.
On the right side October 14, 2012 at 07:04 PM
You're right SEEEEEcor comes off as a whiny lib., as well as an IDIOT. This is the best that the libs. can come up with? Good luck.
Don October 14, 2012 at 07:39 PM
Doesn't the Congressman represent the Temecula area as well as S.D. ? why are meetings proposed forty or fifty miles away from us ? Maybe congressman Hunter doesn't like to answer questions. I have written to him with questions but he does not reply, I wonder why
Jake October 14, 2012 at 11:14 PM
LaRue gave us dates, names and events. All you said was, "Yer stoopid!" This round goes to LaRue.
V.W.D.S. October 15, 2012 at 04:56 AM
Absolutely under no terms will I EVER vote for a Democrat for Congress, so whether or not he wants to debate or not, does not make any difference to me whatsoever.
TVOR October 15, 2012 at 04:19 PM
I will vote for Hunter simply based on what he has done and his values.
SPB October 15, 2012 at 08:53 PM
The only thing the Civil War era Republicans and the modern GOP have in common is a name. From race relations to science funding to national unity, today's republican party is anything but the party of Lincoln. Also, its a tad ironic that you're calling democrats both clan members and communists in the same sentence, considering that the Communist Party's main platform agenda is equality, while the KKK believes in the exact opposite. You might want to brush up on your political philosophy if your goal isn't to look like a total tool... Unless of course you want to look like a total tool... in which case, carry on.
SPB October 15, 2012 at 08:57 PM
Yes, Larue gave dates, names and events... and if you knew even a smidgeon of History, you would see that her entire point is invalid. The KKK abandoned the Democratic party when they pushed for de-segregation. Between the 1950's- 70's the ol southern "Dixie-crat" moved solidly into the Republican bracket. Its why the South is overwhelmingly Republican. As far as communists, they are still a 3rd party, but have no real place in the modern Democratic party which is essentially the Republican Party of the 1990's back when they had crazy things like moderates. Both Republicans and Democrats are conservative parties.

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