Wednesday, April 17, 2024

With Obama’s support young Latino Arab-American hopes to win a House seat

A young Democratic congressional candidate of Latino and Arab descent who is running against an incumbent in a traditionally Republican district, got a boost from his old boss, former President Barack Obama.

Campa-Najjar, 29, is one of nearly 100 Democrats across the country who were endorsed Wednesday by Barack and Michelle Obama. The former first couple released the list of candidates and pledged to lend them their support ahead of the midterm election this November.

Ammar Campa-Najjar is vying to represent California’s 50th District against Republican congressman, Duncan Hunter who was elected to the seat in 2008. Campa-Najir cut his political teeth working in the Obama administration as an official at the Labor Department and said his experience with the former president inspired him to run for office.

California’s 50th Congressional District is a traditional Republican mainstay. About 80 percent of the district’s population is white; Latinos make up about 30 percent.

Hunter is currently under an FBI criminal investigation for allegations of misusing campaign funds. But he comes into a re-election race with two advantages; he’s a former Marine and his father, also named Duncan Hunter, represented the same area before him for almost 30 years.

Campa-Najjar acknowledges that he will need to mobilize new voters, a task he says the Democrats have fallen short on in the past.

“I see that Latinos are the tip of the spear in politics. They are at every rally, every protest, but not voting. Part of it is not because Latinos are sleeping, but because Washington is asleep,” he said, stressing the importance of grassroots campaigning and reaching out to voters.