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Ammar Campa-Najjar hops districts and John McCann hires a private eye

Who’s more desperate to win the Chula Vista mayor’s race?

Campa-Najjar lived at his girlfriend Congresswoman Sara Jacobs’ multi-million-dollar condo for almost a month.
Campa-Najjar lived at his girlfriend Congresswoman Sara Jacobs’ multi-million-dollar condo for almost a month.

Ammar Campa-Najjar campaigned for votes from Temecula to El Cajon as an East County congressional candidate in 2018 and 2020, and has shifted south to ask Chula Vista voters to elect him mayor this November, but is his heart actually in San Diego’s upscale Bankers Hill?

Chula Vista four-term city councilman John McCann, Campa-Najjar’s opponent in the mayoral race, held a press conference September 27 outside a condominium in Bankers Hill he says is Campa-Najjar’s true residence, not Chula Vista.

McCann says former FBI counterintelligence agent Lawrence Hamilton produced video evidence proving Campa-Najjar lived at his girlfriend Congresswoman Sara Jacobs’ multi-million-dollar condo for almost a month. “The photos and videos were taken daily and represent almost a solid 23 consecutive nights that were spent in the San Diego condo. During the investigation, his girlfriend Sara was in Washington D.C. the vast majority of the time, so Ammar was not there to see his girlfriend.”

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In a San Diego Republican Party press release accusing him of felony voter fraud, former Chula Vista mayor Shirley Horton stated, “Campa-Najjar has a pattern of misleading voters for his own personal gain by using his family’s addresses to run in different districts; for example, he used his mother’s Jamul address for 2018’s East County’s 50th Congressional District, his aunt’s Bonita address for 2020’s California State Assembly race, and now his cousin’s Chula Vista address for 2022’s Chula Vista Mayoral race.”

2018 Congressional race headquarters in East County

In 2018 I reported Ammar Yasser Najjar changed his name to Ammar Joseph Campa-Najjar when he first ran for public office, getting rid of his father’s name Yasser and adding his mother’s Spanish last name to his.

Last year Voice of San Diego reported on Campa-Najjar’s hop from running for office in East County to running in South Bay. “When Campa-Najjar filed paperwork to run for mayor of Chula Vista, it caught some people by surprise. After all, none of Chula Vista is in the 50th Congressional District… It is true that Campa-Najjar hasn’t exactly been public about his South Bay roots – he has mentioned Chula Vista in just two of his 5,375 tweets.”

Former Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley, first elected in 2000, tells me he established a public integrity division a month after taking office and started prosecuting politicians who lied about living in the districts they ran to represent, almost all municipal races.

He says, “The jurisdiction where the office is held sets the requirements for holding office including residence or domicile. In order to establish residence in a district as required by ordinance, they have to fill out a voter registration form. When they lie on the form under penalty of perjury, they are committing a felony. Most cases proceed by voter fraud.”

He continues, “During my 12-year tenure we probably had twelve to fifteen of these cases, all were convicted. A couple went to trial, but most pled guilty. It’s not that hard to prove whether the address they had given is where they reside. The operative concept is domicile not residence. You can have multiple residences. Domicile is where you keep your stuff, spend time, get bills, go to sleep. You also look at what’s their motivation.”

Cooley says just because a candidate is approved for the ballot by an election agency doesn’t mean they have proven their address is valid. “It just means they’ve been defrauded also.”

In response to the alleged video evidence showing Campa-Najjar living in San Diego for a month, Cooley says, “You may be away from domicile for a length of time. They need more than that, like where they get mail, where their car is registered. It’s not just where they are at for a length of time. It’s the whole picture. More questions have to be asked.”

McCann tells me, “Ask Campa-Najjar to see his driver’s license to show you his address - he won't have it.” On September 28, McCann stated in a press release the U.S. Postal Service certified Campa-Najjar’s primary address for mail is Jacobs’ condo in Bankers Hill and that Hamilton has several pictures of Amazon packages addressed to Ammar delivered to that residence.

Campa-Najjar did not respond to a request for comment.

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Campa-Najjar lived at his girlfriend Congresswoman Sara Jacobs’ multi-million-dollar condo for almost a month.
Campa-Najjar lived at his girlfriend Congresswoman Sara Jacobs’ multi-million-dollar condo for almost a month.

Ammar Campa-Najjar campaigned for votes from Temecula to El Cajon as an East County congressional candidate in 2018 and 2020, and has shifted south to ask Chula Vista voters to elect him mayor this November, but is his heart actually in San Diego’s upscale Bankers Hill?

Chula Vista four-term city councilman John McCann, Campa-Najjar’s opponent in the mayoral race, held a press conference September 27 outside a condominium in Bankers Hill he says is Campa-Najjar’s true residence, not Chula Vista.

McCann says former FBI counterintelligence agent Lawrence Hamilton produced video evidence proving Campa-Najjar lived at his girlfriend Congresswoman Sara Jacobs’ multi-million-dollar condo for almost a month. “The photos and videos were taken daily and represent almost a solid 23 consecutive nights that were spent in the San Diego condo. During the investigation, his girlfriend Sara was in Washington D.C. the vast majority of the time, so Ammar was not there to see his girlfriend.”

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In a San Diego Republican Party press release accusing him of felony voter fraud, former Chula Vista mayor Shirley Horton stated, “Campa-Najjar has a pattern of misleading voters for his own personal gain by using his family’s addresses to run in different districts; for example, he used his mother’s Jamul address for 2018’s East County’s 50th Congressional District, his aunt’s Bonita address for 2020’s California State Assembly race, and now his cousin’s Chula Vista address for 2022’s Chula Vista Mayoral race.”

2018 Congressional race headquarters in East County

In 2018 I reported Ammar Yasser Najjar changed his name to Ammar Joseph Campa-Najjar when he first ran for public office, getting rid of his father’s name Yasser and adding his mother’s Spanish last name to his.

Last year Voice of San Diego reported on Campa-Najjar’s hop from running for office in East County to running in South Bay. “When Campa-Najjar filed paperwork to run for mayor of Chula Vista, it caught some people by surprise. After all, none of Chula Vista is in the 50th Congressional District… It is true that Campa-Najjar hasn’t exactly been public about his South Bay roots – he has mentioned Chula Vista in just two of his 5,375 tweets.”

Former Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley, first elected in 2000, tells me he established a public integrity division a month after taking office and started prosecuting politicians who lied about living in the districts they ran to represent, almost all municipal races.

He says, “The jurisdiction where the office is held sets the requirements for holding office including residence or domicile. In order to establish residence in a district as required by ordinance, they have to fill out a voter registration form. When they lie on the form under penalty of perjury, they are committing a felony. Most cases proceed by voter fraud.”

He continues, “During my 12-year tenure we probably had twelve to fifteen of these cases, all were convicted. A couple went to trial, but most pled guilty. It’s not that hard to prove whether the address they had given is where they reside. The operative concept is domicile not residence. You can have multiple residences. Domicile is where you keep your stuff, spend time, get bills, go to sleep. You also look at what’s their motivation.”

Cooley says just because a candidate is approved for the ballot by an election agency doesn’t mean they have proven their address is valid. “It just means they’ve been defrauded also.”

In response to the alleged video evidence showing Campa-Najjar living in San Diego for a month, Cooley says, “You may be away from domicile for a length of time. They need more than that, like where they get mail, where their car is registered. It’s not just where they are at for a length of time. It’s the whole picture. More questions have to be asked.”

McCann tells me, “Ask Campa-Najjar to see his driver’s license to show you his address - he won't have it.” On September 28, McCann stated in a press release the U.S. Postal Service certified Campa-Najjar’s primary address for mail is Jacobs’ condo in Bankers Hill and that Hamilton has several pictures of Amazon packages addressed to Ammar delivered to that residence.

Campa-Najjar did not respond to a request for comment.

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