Update 2:38pm Eastern. Rep. Hunter is staying in the race. He blasted “knucklehead, arrogant” TV execs at ABC and Fox for excluding him from the presidential debates this weekend.
Good on Rep. Hunter for sticking it out. As he noted, he picked up one presidential delegate in Wyoming. That’s one more than many of the prez candidates who were allowed to sit at the debate tables.
Here’s CNN’s brief dispatch on the announcement: “”So here’s my answer: I’m not going to quit. I’m staying in.”
Just in from the Hunter campaign. News coming at 2:00pm Eastern:
For Immediate Release: January 7, 2007
Contact: Bob Bevill, (978) 339-3198, (603) 913-1770
Presidential Candidate and California Congressman Duncan Hunter will be making a major announcement today at 2:00 p.m. (EST), regarding the future of his Presidential bid. All media are encouraged to attend or contact Bob Bevill, National Media Coordinator, to arrange alternate interviews.
DUNCAN HUNTER ANNOUNCEMENT
Radisson Hotel Lobby
700 Elm Street
Manchester, New Hampshire
2:00 p.m. (EST)
Rep. Hunter has been a stalwart advocate for strict immigration enforcement, border security, and a strong national defense. If he withdraws, which seems likely, his presence will be greatly missed by grass-roots conservatives. I’ve never been able to answer questions from readers about why his campaign never caught fire given his excellent credentials and expertise (compared to, say, Mike Huckabee’s). Politics is weird and inexplicable like that.
Question: Will Hunter throw his support to one of the other candidates? Which one?
Ed Morrissey pays tribute:
Hunter faced the same problem as anyone else running from the House: a small constituency. Hunter has never had to conduct a campaign outside of his Congressional district, and that makes a big difference when running for President. He couldn’t carry California, which isn’t as big of a handicap — for instance, no one thinks Mitt Romney will carry Massachusetts in a general election — but the lack of notoriety that comes from being one of 435 instead of 1 of 100 or one of 50 becomes a big burden to overcome.
I also have to mention that he is even more impressive in person than on television. He is warm, engaging, and sharp. Hunter needed no scripts at the CLC to chat with us over dinner about policy or electoral strategy. He has a personality and a sense of humor that gets shortchanged in the debate formats used in this cycle, and although it probably wouldn’t have made a lot of difference in his traction, it would have been nice to see more people get to know Hunter better.
If Hunter leaves, the rest of us should hope that a Republican winner will find room for Hunter in the next administration. He would make an excellent Secretary of Defense, or perhaps the head of Homeland Security, if he’s crazy enough to take it. This man still has plenty of service left to give our nation; let’s hope someone puts him to use.
Elsewhere on the campaign trail, Pajamas Media has video interviews with McCain and Giuliani.