Duncan Lee Hunter, born May 31, 1948 (age 68), was a 14-term Republican Congressman from California who ran for the Republican nomination for President in 2008. He is a Vietnam veteran who enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1969 right after college. He fought in the Vietnam War from 1970 to 1971 in the Army Rangers' 75th Ranger Regiment, attached to the 173rd Airborne Brigade. He received a Bronze Star for his service in 24 helicopter combat assaults. He also participated in small-number, night-time reconnaissance patrols. He held the rank of First Lieutenant, and was awarded the Bronze Star Medal, Air Medal, and service ribbons such as the Vietnam Service Medal.
After serving in the military, he worked his way through law school with farming and construction jobs. Once an attorney, he practiced in a storefront office where he often provided free legal services to the poor.
In 1980 he achieved a big political upset in challenging and defeating Democratic incumbent Lionel van Deerlin in a Democratic-leaning San Diego-based district, which was redrawn to be solidly Republican in 1982. Since the redrawing, Hunter won reelection 13 times, often with up to 70% of the vote. During his House tenure, he represented California's 42nd, 45th and 52nd districts. His voting record was virtually 100% conservative in Congress, often taking the lead on controversial issues. Hunter was a proponent of fair trade rather than free trade. On choosing to run for president in the 2008 election, he did not stand for re-election to the House in that year. He was succeeded as representative for the 52nd district by his son, Duncan D. Hunter, who was a First Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.
In January 2007, Hunter attracted attention by winning a non-binding straw poll of Republican precinct committeemen in Arizona's most-populated county, even though Arizona is home to Senator John McCain.