Candidate: Duncan Hunter
Political Background: U.S. Representative (CA-52), Chairman - House Armed Services Committee
Campaign Website: http://www.gohunter08.com/
GOP Appeal: Pro-2nd Amendment, strong military and defense record and background, strong stance on lower taxes for both individuals and businesses, anti-LOST, 100% rating from Christian Coalition, favors building of new oil refineries to ease gas and energy prices and improve refined oil production, pro-business record, anti-gay marriage, strong fiscal conservatism and budget-cutting stances, anti-abortion, leading advocate and proven track record on border security and control over illegal immigration, pro-capital punishment, supports school vouchers.
Cross-over Appeal to Dems: Supports zero-taxation policy on alternative energy sources, pro-fair trade record, supports UN-backed humanitarian aid in Darfur
Cons: Limited fundraising capabilities, shares similar message with other GOP candidates on varying issues, does not have much name recognition until this presidential campaign.
My Personal Thoughts: Duncan Hunter is another "Reagan Republican" in the sense that he swept into office as part of the Reagan Revolution in 1980, and he shares many Reagan-esque viewpoints. In all actuality, Hunter has all of his bases covered when it comes to the GOP's core group of voters. So why isn't Duncan Hunter rallying up the polls in the same manner as someone like Mike Huckabee?
Simply put, nobody knew who Duncan Hunter was at the earlier stages of this campaign.
He's a social conservative like Huckabee, Brownback, and others. He's strong on immigration like Tancredo, he's strong on 2nd Amendment and economic issues like Fred Thompson, and he's strong on national defense like Rudy Giuliani. There just isn't any room for Duncan Hunter to break into the top-tier of candidates.
Then again, the same was said about Mike Huckabee for quite a while, but Huckabee had a rapport with evangelical and social conservatives that Hunter never fostered, partially because of Huckabee's past as a minister.
It's a shame, because I believe that Hunter has excellent stances and ideas on immigration, national defense, the economy, and the 2nd Amendment. However, Hunter just never seemed to get traction due to the lack of national name recognition and solid, but unspectacular, debate performances.
Take away Fred Thompson and John McCain, two favorites of pro-military conservatives, and Hunter really could have had a shot in this campaign. However, I wouldn't count him out of a VP bid at this point, especially since he is not going to run for another term in the House of Representatives. Interestingly enough, his son, Duncan D. Hunter, is running for that seat in 2008.