Ammar Campa-Najjar

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Ammar Campa-Najjar on MSNBC ​'s Kasie DC ​. [31]

Ammar Campa-Najjar is a political candidate ​, independent public affairs consultant​, and a former Obama administration ​ official residing in San Diego, California ​. He is currently the Democratic candidate seeking election to represent California's 50th congressional district ​ in United States Congress ​​. In August 2018 he received the endorsement of former President Barack Obama ​​. [3] [5] [4] [16]

Early Life

Childhood and Teenage Years

Ammar Campa-Najjar with his mother and brother [3]

Ammar Campa-Najjar was born in the late 1980s in East County, San Diego ​ to parents, Yasser Najjar who is Palestinian American ​ and Abigail Campa who is Mexican American ​. His mother, Abigail Campa was the Mexican Catholic daughter of an orphaned migrant farmworker ​. [7] [8]

Ammar Campa-Najjar was raised by his mother since his father moved to Gaza in 1994 when he was only 5-years-old. His father, Yasser Najjar moved to Gaza, to work in the newly formed Palestinian Authority ​. To provide for her family his mother had to work a series of jobs including working as a family doctor's receptionist ​, applying to work at Wal-Mart ​ in her 50s, and eventually working in real estate ​. [7] [9]

"My mom made $16,000 a year raising two kids," he said; speaking about life after his parents' divorce. He described a ritual his mom performed each month sitting on the bed. He called it " solitaire ​", where she would shuffle bills around to see which one she would pay that month. "Sometimes the Wi-Fi ​ went out, sometimes it was the water," he recalled. [16]

Ammar's first school photo [24]

In 1997, Ammar Campa-Najjar's mother moved the family to Gaza so that he could know his father. While living in Gaza, Campa-Najjar attended the Holy Family Catholic School ​ run by the Holy Family Church, Gaza ​. [7] [13]

While living in Gaza, Ammar Campa-Najjar and his family were directly impacted by the Second Intifada ​ a period of intensified Israeli–Palestinian."I watched a Palestinian boy my age get shot and killed while hiding behind a barrel. I didn’t cry when we had to shelter in place at my Catholic school to hide from the bombing. I didn’t cry when a military hummer crashed head on into our car, putting my brother in a coma." [8] [9]

In August 2001, Ammar Campa-Najjar and his mother moved back to San Diego without his father. After the September 11 attacks ​ the Islamic School he attended was vandalized and declared unsafe to study or pray in. After returning to San Diego, his family struggled financially, and Campa-Najjar sought work as a janitor ​ in a church, where he later became a youth leader. During high school, he converted from Islam ​ to Christianity ​. [9] [4] ​​ [15]

Family History

Ammar Campa-Najjar is the grandson of Muhammad Yusuf Al-Najjar ​ (aka Abu Yusuf), a senior member of the Palestinian terrorist organization Black September, which carried out numerous terror attacks including the Munich massacre where  11 Israeli Olympic athletes were murdered during the 1972 Summer Olympics ​​. In 1973, Mossad ​ agents killed Yusuf al-Najjar and his wife in Beirut in retaliation for the attack​. The killing took place in front of Campa-Najjar's father, Yasser Najjar who was only 11-years-old at the time. Najjar traveled through Egypt ​, Lebanon ​, and Morocco ​ before moving to the USA at the age of 18. [7] [8]

In an interview with Haaretz ​, Campa-Najjar spoke about his family history and his views on the Israeli–Palestinian conflict ​, which he says are “far removed” from those of the grandfather he never met. He says that “as an American citizen living in the 21st century, I will never be able to understand or condone the actions and motivations of my grandfather.” [7]

Rabbi ​ Devorah Marcus of the Reform Temple Emanu-El adds that Campa-Najjar “supports Israel ​ and he supports Palestine ​. He speaks comfortably about the good and the difficulties of both communities. Ammar is someone who understands the value of listening, and he approaches people with a generous spirit and an open heart.” [7]


Ammar Campa-Najjar attended Southwestern College a community college ​ in Chula Vista, California ​ from 2007-2010 before transferring to San Diego State University (SDSU)​. In 2012, he graduated from San Diego State University with a Bachelor of Arts dual degree ​ in Philosophy ​ and Psychology ​ with a minor in Political Science ​. Campa-Najjar was a member of the Psi Chi ​ an international honor society ​ in Psychology at SDSU. He was also a member of the university's Philosophy Club. [13] [3]


From January-May 2012, Ammar Campa-Najjar was a Research Assistant ​ at San Diego State University. In this role, he assisted in researching the effects of Parkinson’s Disease ​ (PD) on prospective memory ​. He scored neurological ​ tests administered to PD group and control Group ​. Campa-Najjar conducted data analyses to determine statistically significant ​ differences across various populations ​. He published research results in SDSU’s online Neuropsychology Journal. [13]

In May 2012 Ammar Campa-Najjar was selected as a California Statewide Delegate for the Democratic Party. Delegates were tasked with nominating the President at the 2012 Democratic National Convention as well as committing to working to secure his re-election. [13]

From January-November 2012, he served as Deputy Regional Field Director for President Obama's reelection campaign. Ammar Campa-Najjar managed the San Diego campaign headquarters and conducted statewide web seminars ​ on campaign messaging, strategy, and team structure. He trained more than 400 volunteer organizers to persuade, educate, and turn out voters in key states. Campa-Najjar taught campaign messaging, strategy and volunteer management ​ techniques to 40 lead organizers. He traveled to meet supporters, discuss the President’s vision, and California’s role in winning reelection. He negotiated lease agreements ​ between the DNC and property owners. To help re-elect the president he established relationships with local officials. Campa-Najjar also delivered campaign speeches at local democratic organizations. [3] [13]

From December 2012- January 2013, Ammar Campa-Najjar was the Regional Service Lead for the Presidential Inaugural Committee. In this role, he was responsible for managing and mobilizing San Diegans to collaborate with non-profit ​/government organizations. [13]

Under Campa-Najjar's leadership, San Diego organizers recruited, coordinated and participated in numerous community outreach ​ activities, including:

  • Operation Gratitude ( East County ​): sending care packages ​ addressed to individual soldiers ​, aailors ​, airmen ​ and marines ​ deployed overseas, to their children, veterans ​, wounded warriors ​ and first responders ​. [13]
  • San Diego Blood Bank ​ ( La Jolla ​): collects, stores, and distributes blood products to hospitals in San Diego County. The blood is provided by 100% volun­teer donor efforts, processing 10,000 units of blood a month and serve hospitals throughout Southern California.
  • Habitat for Humanity ​ ( Hillcrest): dedicated to building "simple, decent affordable housing." Habit for Humanity relies on volunteer efforts to construct simple and affordable housing ​.
  • Monthly Clean Up-Little Saigon Foundation (SDSU): revitalizing local communities and providing services for the residents of the Little Saigon District of San Diego. Volunteers provided neighborhood & district graffiti removal ​, store-front repaint, neighborhood and street trash clean up, box recycling, and landscape clean up.
  • Veterans Home of California: Founded in 1933, Chula Vista Post 434 is the 4th largest American Legion ​ Post in California with a team of committed veterans and family members who conduct service projects throughout San Diego in support of military, veterans, homeless, children and youth.
  • Image
    Ammar Campa-Najjar serving in the White House [3]
    Mama's Kitchen ( Helix High School ​): volunteers helped provide meals to over 1,300 HIV AIDS ​ and cancer ​ patients throughout San Diego County.

Following the Second inauguration of Barack Obama ​, Ammar Campa-Najjar worked as a White House ​ Official in Correspondence ​ in the Executive Office of the President ​ from January-June 2013. When he was unable to afford the move to Washington, DC to take on the position, he secured a loan. In this role, Campa-Najjar serve on the team that selected the 10 letters that the president read every night. He read thousands of letters from Americans, learning about the hopes, fears and daily struggles of people from across the United States. Campa-Najjar describes becoming a White House ​ Official and in the Executive Office of the President as one of the proudest moments of his life. [3] [13] [9]

From May 2013 - January 2016, he worked at the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce ​ (USHCC) as Communications and Marketing Director. In this role, Ammar Campa-Najjar worked to promote the economic growth ​ of the more than 4 million Hispanic-owned small Businesses ​ in the United States. While serving at the USHCC, Ammar supported efforts to help small businesses secure federal contracts as well as procurement opportunities with larger companies seeking to diversify their supply chains ​ with minority-owned firms who reflect the communities they serve. [3] [13]

Swearing in at Department of Labor [3]

From January-December 2016, Ammar Campa-Najjar was a Public Affairs Officer in the U.S. Department of Labor ​. He led the Office of Public Affairs for the Employment and Training Administration ​ (ETA). In this role, He helped promote a nationwide effort to double and diversify the number of Registered Apprenticeships ​ in America, an "an earn while you learn job" that pays workers an average of $60,000 a year.  Campa-Najjar also supported: the Trade Adjustment Assistance ​ (TAA) in helping American workers who were laid off due to unfair trade deals; expanding aid for farm workers; launching youth summer jobs ​ programs; advancing veteran employment opportunities; providing vocational training ​ and rehabilitation services to those in the criminal justice system ​; improving reemployment services; and cracking down on unemployment fraud. [3] [13]

In December 2015, Ammar Campa-Najjar founded ACN Strategies, a strategic communications and media consulting firm ​. ACN serves a diverse set of clients in the U.S. and abroad, including non-profits, small businesses, large corporations, and political organizations. The company offers services including message and brand development ​, strategy and planning, coalition building, media relations ​, crisis communications ​, as well as social and digital engagement. [3] [13]

2018 Congressional Campaign

Youtube Video
Ammar Campa-Najjar on Kasie DC MSNBC 8/5/2018

On Thursday, April 20, 2017, Ammar Campa-Najjar announced that he would be running to represent California's 50th congressional district ​ in United States Congress for the Democratic Party. [9] [3]

Ammar Campa-Najjar advanced to the general election ​ after coming second in the June 5, 2018 two-top primary ​. The Republican incumbent ​, Duncan Hunter ​ got 48.2 percent of the vote and Campa-Najjar got 16.9 percent. The two will face off in the general election for the congressional seat on on November 6, 2018. [6] [5]

In a letter to citizens living in California's 50th congressional district, Campa-Najjar explained why he is running :

My name is Ammar, the people’s candidate. I was born in East County, the son of a Christian working-class mother who raised me with help from family and neighbors. From my first job as a church janitor to serving in the White House; I’ve devoted my life to service. [3]

I’m running to give back to my mother’s generation, and to all those seeking to live and retire with dignity. As a business owner, I know the burdens we face. As a Labor Department official, I served working families. Being your congressman isn’t about my personal politics — it’s about your personal health, safety, and economic dignity.

While career politicians put their own interest ahead of ours and use special interest contributions and tax dollars to finance lavish lifestyles, I’ll never forget where I come from. I’ll fight for real ethics and campaign finance reform – and I won’t take a dime of corporate PAC money.

We all have a role to play in restoring America’s core values: responsibility from all; opportunity for all. That’s why in Washington, I worked with Republicans and Democrats to advance critical programs, including apprenticeship jobs that pay double the average American’s income.

So while extremists in Washington vote to take healthcare away from us, undermine Social Security and Medicare, and attack women’s rights, I’ll stand up for our families and work with members of both parties for common sense solutions.

I’m ready to be your independent voice in Washington, if you’ll be my voice this election.


Youtube Video
Ammar Campa-Najjar Keeps Racking Up Endorsements




Political Positions

Jobs and Small Business

Youtube Video
Back to Work ad by Ammar Campa For Congress

Ammar Campa-Najjar believes that to solve the more than 6 million job vacancies in the United States and improve the quality of citizen's jobs the federal government needs to invest in apprenticeship ​ programs. These programs will help connect employers with skilled workers ​. He also believes that the government should invest in childcare ​ so that more parents can get back into the workforce.  While working in the United States Department of Labor ​ he worked on an initiative to double the number of Registered Apprenticeships ​. [19] [3] [13]

If elected, he has committed to work with unions and colleges on legislation that brings job training programs to our district in traditional sectors, as well as in high growth-sectors including healthcare ​, financial services ​, high-tech ​ and green service jobs. He also believes that federal investment must also target communities with the highest unemployment ​ rates and increase training for low-paying industries such as home health care ​, hospital care, childcare, cleaning and other service work. [19]


Ammar Campa-Najjar supports comprehensive immigration reform. If elected, he would urge the United States House of Representatives ​to introduce a modified version of the Senate’s 2013 bipartisan ​ comprehensive immigration bill known as the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 ​. The bill is more commonly known as the “Gang of Eight Bill,” and passed in the Senate 68-32 but was never introduced in the House. [20]

Ammar Campa-Najjar is a supporter of the Uniting and Securing America (USA) Act [20]

Ammar Campa-Najjar is a supporter of the DREAM Act and supports a clean Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals ​ (DACA) bill. ​To solve short term immigration issues he has pledged to support a bill called the Uniting and Securing America (USA) Act. This bill, introduced by Republican Congressman Will Hurd ​ and Democratic Congressman Pete Aguilar ​, presents a bipartisan, workable Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals ​ (DACA)- border security ​ solution. If elected, he would urge his colleagues to break Washington gridlock and bring this bill to a vote. [20]

To prevent American employers from hiring ineligible employees Ammar Campa-Najjar believes that congress should enhance and mandate the E-Verify ​ process for American employers. E-Verify is a web-based system that allows enrolled employers to confirm the eligibility of their employees to work in the United States. E-Verify employers verify the identity and employment eligibility of newly hired employees by electronically matching information provided by employees on the Form I-9 ​, Employment Eligibility Verification, against records available to the Social Security Administration ​ (SSA) and the Department of Homeland Security ​ (DHS). [20]


Ammar Campa-Najjar is a supporter of universal healthcare ​. He is committed to improving the Affordable Care Act ​​ and transitioning to Medicare for All ​. If elected, he has pledged to make votes to (1) lower the cost of prescription drugs by having Medicare negotiate prices, (2) provide a public option to compete with the private sector based on who provides lower costs and higher quality service and (3) as a short-term solution, allow individuals ages 50-64 years old to buy into early medicare. He has also pledged to vote for a permanent authorization of the Children's Health Insurance Program ​. [21]

Campa-Najjar is a supporter of medical cannabis ​. He will support bills to de-scheduling cannabis and fund research to examine it as a natural alternative to often prescription drugs ​ such as opioids ​, depressants ​, and amphetamines ​. [21]


Ammar Campa-Najjar appreciating the natural beauty of California's 50th congressional district. [22]

Ammar Campa-Najjar believes that the federal government needs to invest more in protecting the environment in the United States and especially California's 50th congressional district. [22]

He supports policies including:

  • Investments in private endeavors to transition to 100% renewable energy — that includes generating, storing, and transmitting. [22]

  • End fossil fuel subsidies and use part of the funds to help workers who rely on these traditional industries to transition into better jobs.

  • Expedited transfer of high-level radioactive waste at San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) to temporary, surface storage at Arizona's Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station.

  • Promote legislation for Community Choice Energy.

  • Repurposing of Department of Energy ​ research from more conservative measures like carbon capture ​, clean coal ​, hydrogen, and natural gas ​ toward renewables ​.

  • Permanent moratorium on offshore drilling ​ in federal waters.

  • Adopting of a cap-and-trade ​ program

  • Research-based fire policy and zoning that reduces the vulnerability of communities to wildfire and reduces the skyrocketing human and financial cost of fires and firefighting in the Western United States. Things like selective living, biochar ​, and other preventative and restorative measures should be explored.

  • Reform and renegotiation of water rights ​ in the Western United States.

  • Full funding of the US-Mexico Border Water Infrastructure Program (BWIP) in order to eliminate the discharge of raw sewage ​ into the Tijuana River ​ and ultimately onto San Diego's beaches.

  • Investment in the California's 50th congressional district's storm water ​ and wastewater ​ management system. Campa-Najjar believes that urban runoff ​ is the single biggest threat to San Diego's water quality ​ and storm water capture offers opportunities to ease the perennial scarcity of water in the region.

  • Permanent mandatory and market-based water conservation ​ measures to reduce the district's water dependence and make San Diego more drought-resilient.

  • Incentives for drought-tolerant landscaping to reduce suburban water consumption ​.

  • Public investment in mass transit ​ to reduce carbon emissions ​, facilitate smart urban development ​, and provide enduring, well-paying jobs for American workers.

  • Legislation and regulation that accelerates the development of high-density, transit-oriented, mixed use urban infill with on-site permanently affordable units.

Election Reform

Ammar Campa-Najjar is against Citizens United ​ which ruled that the the government cannot restrict independent expenditures in politics. He believes that the ruling should be overturned to reduce the influence of large corporations on elections. Campa-Najjar believes that superdelegates ​ in the Democratic Party ​ should not have more influence than the average American voter. He supports measures to eliminate the influence of Super PACs ​ in elections, whether through a constitutional amendment ​ or by preventing out-of-district special interests from overwhelming local elections. To prevent representatives from becoming career politicians, Campa-Najjar believes that congress should be discussing term limits ​. [23]


Ammar Campa-Najjar with supporters at California State University San Marcos [24]

Ammar Campa-Najjar believes that the United States government should invest in universal preschool ​. He also believes that public funds should go to public schools rather than​ charter schools. He believes that there is a lack of accountability around charter schools and that there should be a moratorium on large-scale charter schools until charter school reforms are passed. [24]

While working for the Department of Labor, Campa-Najjar worked on promoting tuition-free community college ​. Inspired by President Obama’s America’s College Promise plan to make two years of community college free for responsible students, America’s Promise grants are designed to accelerate the development and expansion of regional workforce partnerships committed to providing a pipeline of skilled workers in specific sectors. If elected he would focus on increasing federal funding for community colleges in California's 50th congressional district. [24]

Ammar Campa-Najjar believes that the United States government should provide free college ​ to responsible students who need financial aid ​. To fund this Campa-Najjar would support raising taxes on wealthy Americans and eliminating the use of the use of stepped-up basis ​ in inheritances. The elimination of this policy would increase capital gains tax ​ revenues by $17 billion. He also supports cutting federal spending from departments like the Department of Defense ​ to fund this initiative since these departments will face a growing need for college educated workers.  To further reduce the cost of the initiative Campa-Najjar would invest in cheaper alternatives to college such as apprenticeships ​. [24]

Campa-Najjar believes that the government should forgive student debt ​ for those who devote time out of college toward public service ​ of their choice. Like the GI Bill ​, he believes that the US should institute a Civilian Bill, where public service is rewarded with a free education. [24]

Ammar Campa-Najjar also supports education policies including:

  • Increasing teacher pay and retirement benefits to improve teacher quality. [24]
  • Equitable school finance so that poorer school districts receive more funding.
  • Local accountability policies as opposed to federal standards such as the No Child Left Behind Act ​.
  • Increased funding for arts and other extracurriculars.
  • Smaller class sizes.
  • Ending the school to prison pipeline ​ through increased use of innovative and restorative disciplinary approaches.
  • Increased after school programs, summer learning programs, and summer jobs programs for at-risk youth.
  • Greater investment in Science ​, Tech ​, Engineering ​, the Arts ​, and Math ​ (STEAM) and Workforce Development ​ programs
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