Congressional hopeful recalled to active duty
By Thomas Watkins - The Associated Press
Posted : Wednesday Apr 11, 2007 20:52:29 EDT

SAN DIEGO — Congressional hopeful and Marine reservist Duncan Duane Hunter has been recalled to active duty, but he says going to war won’t interfere with his political aspirations.

Hunter, 30, is running for the seat now held by his father, 14-term U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Alpine, a conservative who is the ranking Republican on the House Armed Services Committee. The elder Hunter, who is making a long-shot presidential bid, has said he will leave politics if he does not win the Republican nomination.

It will be the third deployment for the younger Hunter, who joined the Marines in 2002 and is now an artillery captain. He served in Baghdad in 2003 and in the first battle of Fallujah in 2004. He was unsure where he’d be sent this time, but said most likely it would be back to Iraq.

Hunter is one of about 1,800 reservists the Marine Corps recently recalled to active duty, citing a shortage of volunteers to fill some jobs in Iraq.

He said family members and supporters will run a surrogate campaign while he’s deployed, but said he would keep close watch via the telephone and the Internet on events in the 52nd Congressional District, which includes suburbs and rural communities east of San Diego.

“I will do what I can,” he said.

Hunter, who has no previous political experience, said he shares his father’s brand of conservative politics focusing on supporting the military, opposing illegal immigration and building a border fence between the U.S. and Mexico.

As a civilian, Hunter is a land developer. He said returning to war was disruptive to family life — he’s married with three children — but said he is pleased to rejoin his Marine colleagues.

“I am honored to go back,” he said. “I think it’s the best job someone could have.”

Hunter believes the war in Iraq is winnable, but only if Iraqi security forces take a more active role in the fighting.

“The faster we can get them in the fight the better,” he said.

Hunter should be back in plenty of time for the primary election, scheduled for June 2008. Marine deployments typically last seven months.