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 “seems overly sensitive for a former Marine” for declining to debate him in the 50th District race.

David Secor of Crest* 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.

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.

*Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story gave the wrong hometown for David Secor.

David B Secor October 25, 2012 at 04:33 AM
Men have control over their own bodies, Craig. Women expect the same. I hope you are not married or the father of a daughter if you accept the Hunter law HR374 that would force them to carry a rapist's child. Should they be victimized, you can make your hilarious comments to them, if and when they ask why you thought so little of them that you would support such legislation, knowing it was they, and not you, who would have to bear the consequences.
Michael Cargill October 25, 2012 at 05:01 AM
Well, uhm, for those of you who are not bigots, homophobes and womanphobes Ms. Sandra Fluke will be appearing this Friday in Balboa Park at 12 noon at 6th and Laurel streets for the Planned Parenthood rally/fundraiser. I will be there. Will you?
David B Secor October 25, 2012 at 05:03 AM
The pdf's you see added above below the photos are 1) a diagram of some or the friendly relationships Hamann Company, Hamann and company officers, and developers, El Cajon City officials, and area megachurch officials enjoy. 2) What Duncan Hunter does instead of speaking with women in his own district 3) The email chain between Hunter's puppetmaster-in-charge-of-debates, David Gilliard and me. There were no unreasonable demands made by me. Every single issue regarding the debate was exactly, with not even the slightest modification, as Hunter demanded. Gilliard did not allow any compromise or discussion. He's certainly no victim. And as an experienced, paid political operative, Gilliard should be wearing big-boy pants, admit the truth, not whine in a loaded diaper. He embarrasses both himself and Congressman Hunter, wherever he is hiding from his employers until election day. Both may well keep their jobs, but that does not alter the fact while financially comfortable, both are dishonest pandering cowards, unworthy of votes or respect.
Things I Learned October 25, 2012 at 12:43 PM
Craig Maxwell October 25, 2012 at 02:53 PM
"That's the problem!--I don't get no respect at all." http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oMlZ8NW5nq4&feature=related
Batman October 25, 2012 at 03:22 PM
So Mr Cargill, if someone who is anti-abortion is a womanphobe, then someone who is pro-abortion must be a babyphobe. And Mr Secor, if Duncan Hunter is a central player in the war on women, then you must be a brigadier general in the war on babies. Yes David B Secor I, you are the senseless leader of the bayonet-wielding babyphobe army. It takes a mighty brave hero to go up against those who can't even utter a scream for help. Secor you're sickening!
BridgetBurns October 25, 2012 at 04:38 PM
I’m tired of you men saying that a child conceived of rape is "something that God intended to happen." As far as I am concerned a child conceived of rape is the result of Satan’s work. If you are not willing to pay MONTHLY into a fund to support your position, or ensure adoption for ALL children who would have been aborted under the existing constitutional guarantees, you need to stay out of this fight.
David B Secor October 25, 2012 at 04:39 PM
BM - Unlike you, the vast majority of Republican women do not want Duncan Hunter's bill, HR 374, to become law. These GOP women may be pro-choice, may be pro-life or both. They simply reject the extremist notion of instant "personhood." Hunter's bill is not just about choice. It bans women or girls who are victims of rape from using the "morning after" pill to ensure they are not pregnant as a result of rape. Unlike men like yourself who would not bear the consequences of Hunter's law, most women demand control over their own personal healthcare and reproductive decisions. Duncan Hunter is determined to make women and girls into criminals, called murderers, if they take that effective pill after being raped. If any women personally believes she must carry a rapist's child, she is free to do so. I support and would defend the right of all women who make that decision. The real issue is - The vast majority of women do not hold that personal belief. Hunter says the actions of only one group, the smallest group, of women would be legal, while all other women who follow their own personal beliefs are criminals in violation of a federal law, made by men. By this action, Duncan Hunter is attacking half of his own constituents, the voters who hired him to represent THEIR interests in Washington, not dismiss them and represent only his own personal ideology. Women voters and men voters who respect women, should fire Duncan Hunter for misrepresentation.
Things I Learned October 25, 2012 at 04:43 PM
Rape babies are the Devil's spawn. We should kill them. Men should shut up and pay the bills.
Komfort October 25, 2012 at 04:52 PM
Have you grown tired of Obama(purported to be a man) telling female survivors of botched abortions to lie naked and die slowly on a cold steel shelf because they didn't build themselves.
greg Chick October 25, 2012 at 05:02 PM
Well put Mr. Secor.
Batman October 25, 2012 at 05:06 PM
I case you hadn't noticed Secor, 50% of babies conceived are girls. Duncan Hunter is representing them, you're not.
PwmCwzy October 25, 2012 at 06:04 PM
TIL - It's a put up or shut up world. Why should someone else pay for what you want?
Things I Learned October 25, 2012 at 06:16 PM
Ask Sandra Fluke.
Komfort October 25, 2012 at 06:16 PM
Pwm has come around. The "rich" no longer need to pay other peoples bills.
Things I Learned October 25, 2012 at 06:19 PM
Things I Learned 11:16 am Komfort 11:17 am http://lamesa.patch.com/users/pwmcwzy http://lamesa.patch.com/users/mary-371
PwmCwzy October 25, 2012 at 06:25 PM
Tom Y - I see no desperation in Secor’s posts. What I see is you and others unwilling to accept decisions determined to be constitutional. The fact that you can’t see that money in politics is going to be the undoing of individual rights, is the reason why there is such gridlock in this country. If Duncan Hunter is re-elected it will because those that voted for him were reluctant to become informed voters. At least I’m sure that when Obama is re-elected he will veto your Republican wishes to abolish a woman’s right to choose.
Things I Learned October 25, 2012 at 06:37 PM
We should accept decisions determined to be constitutional. Overturn Citizen's United! www.obamaclock.org
BridgetBurns October 25, 2012 at 07:51 PM
Komfort - I take it you think you are rich.
Things I Learned October 25, 2012 at 08:12 PM
"Always remember that it is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood. There will always be some who misunderstand you."
Komfort October 25, 2012 at 08:40 PM
Pending approval on a comment that was already posted?
PwmCwzy October 25, 2012 at 08:43 PM
Batman - Some food for thought. At the minute of conception you have an embryo. Medically speaking you can do this in a Petri dish. Since it sounds like you are embracing the “personhood legislation” who do you think should speak for the embryo as to whether or not they should be implanted or frozen? Since an embryo would also have property rights who would donate to sperm banks of the furture?
Batman October 25, 2012 at 09:01 PM
Pwm, prove to me SCIENTIFICALLY that human life begins at conception, or not, and then we can discuss this further.
Things I Learned October 25, 2012 at 09:23 PM
Human embryos are not human beings at the embryological stage of development.
Batman October 25, 2012 at 09:56 PM
And how do you know this?
Things I Learned October 25, 2012 at 10:05 PM
PwmCwzy October 25, 2012 at 10:19 PM
BM - What do you think conception is? Geez!
Michael Cargill October 26, 2012 at 04:34 AM
Babyphobe? I have never heard such bigotry and ignorance! OMFG!
Michael Cargill October 26, 2012 at 04:43 AM
How do you put up with all this ignorance David? These people are from the 18th century.
Things I Learned October 26, 2012 at 12:46 PM


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