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Congressional races

Embattled Rep. Duncan Hunter picks up another challenger from his own party

 (Courtesy of Daniel Casara for Congress)
(Courtesy of Daniel Casara for Congress)

Another Republican has stepped up to challenge Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Alpine), who is under investigation by the FBI over alleged misuse of campaign funds.

Daniel Casara, a 43-year-old retired Army sergeant and motivational speaker, announced Tuesday that he's running against Hunter, a six-term Republican who represents inland San Diego County and a sliver of Riverside County.

"Washington is failing us," Casara said in a statement announcing his run, adding that if elected, he would push for better services for veterans and pursue tax reform that "benefits every American."

Casara received a Purple Heart medal after surviving an attack on his tank in Iraq that killed two other soldiers. He has undergone numerous surgeries and now makes a living as a motivational speaker, according to his campaign.

Earlier this year, Casara participated in a joint interview with George W. Bush after being featured in a book of portraits the former president painted of wounded veterans. A Chicago native, Casara currently lives in San Diego, outside of Hunter's 50th Congressional District.

Hunter was recently added to the Democrats' list of targeted Republican incumbents for 2018. In addition to Casara, he faces Republican Andrew Zelt and Democrats Patrick Malloy, Josh Butner, Glenn Jensen, Pierre Beauregard, Gloria Chadwick and Ammar Campa-Najjar.

Campa-Najjar, a media consultant, raised more money than Hunter in the latest quarter ending June 30, while Hunter spent nearly all of the $155,624 he raised that period on legal fees and services. His campaign has another $114,412 in unpaid legal fees.

The House Ethics Committee disclosed in March that Hunter was under criminal investigation by the Department of Justice and said Hunter may have used campaign funds to pay for personal expenses. His campaign expenses included oral surgery, jewelry, garage door repairs and $600 in airline fees to transport his family's pet rabbit.

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