Labor Drops Ammar Campa-Najjar over ‘Ambiguous’ Gas Tax Position

Ammar Campa-Najjar (Gregory Bull / Associated Press)
Gregory Bull / Associated Press

The California Labor Federation has dropped Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar after initially planning to campaign on his behalf in California’s 50th congressional district because of his apparent ambivalence on the state’s gas tax.

Republicans are campaigning in favor of Proposition 6, a ballot initiative to repeal a 2017 increase of 12 cents per gallon, among other new taxes and fees. Democrats generally oppose Proposition 6. Calmatters.org reports that Campa-Najjar has tried to have it both ways, saying he opposes the gas tax — but not the tax hikes in question.

Campa-Najjar is running a competitive race against incumbent Republican Duncan Hunter, who was indicted a few months ago over alleged misuse of campaign funds. (Hunter denies the charges.) Hunter alleges that Campa-Najjar is a “security risk,” based on the fact that his grandfather was a Palestinian terrorist and that he received a donation from a Palestinian ambassador, among other claims.

The media have rallied behind Campa-Najjar. But Calmatters.org reports that state union leaders believe he has taken a stand against “working people” on the gas tax:

The California Labor Federation, the state’s major labor organization, is abandoning Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar’s campaign to unseat indicted Republican Congressman Duncan Hunter over his ambiguous stand on California’s gasoline tax.

Campa-Najjar put [campaign] money to use by funding a television ad that attacks Hunter over the indictment, but also tells voters that he “opposes raising the gas tax.”

It is at best an ambiguous statement. There is no proposal to raise the gas tax further in California. Rather, voters on Nov. 6 will decide whether to repeal last year’s hike, and thus lessen funding for road maintenance and transportation infrastructure—and the jobs that go with them.

“We have to hold Democrats accountable, just like we have to hold Republicans accountable when they do things that are against the interests of working people,” the Labor Federation’s Smith said. “He has communicated that he opposes the gas tax.”

Campa-Najjar told Rolling Stone last week: “I’m against the gas tax in California. It’s a regressive tax. That makes no sense to me. The gas tax is so unpopular in my district, but liberals statewide love it. I think it’s foolish.”

Many of Campa-Najjar’s other positions are far-left — including support for Medicare for All — but he has focused his rhetoric on the allegations against Hunter, given the traditionally conservative orientation of the district.

A few other Democrats have bucked their party on the gas tax — though Democrat Katie Porter, running against Rep. Mimi Walters (R-CA) in the 45th district, was in favor of the gas tax before deciding that she was against it.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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