Rep. Darrell Issa will not seek re-election

Saul Bowman
January 11, 2018

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., will not seek re-election in 2018, he said Wednesday.

Issa did not give a reason for his decision not to pursue a tenth term, but it likely had something to do with the daunting reelection challenge before him. The publication Politico called Issa's move "the latest sign of a growing Democratic wave in this year's midterm elections", although North County may not be riding the same wave. He later targeted Clinton as she moved toward seeking the presidency over her response to the deadly 2012 terrorist attacks on Americans in Benghazi, Libya.

Generally described as the richest member of Congress, Issa bankrolled the successful 2003 effort to recall California governor Gray Davis, leading to the election of Arnold Schwarzenegger.

"California Republicans clearly see the writing on the wall and realize that their party and its priorities are toxic to their re-election chances in 2018", DCCC spokesperson Drew Godinich said.

In 2012, Issa launched one of the first congressional inquiries into the Benghazi attacks, which resulted in the deaths of two diplomats and two Central Intelligence Agency contractors during Clinton's tenure as secretary of state.

Issa was one of 23 Republicans who narrowly retained their House seats in districts also won by Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

Earlier this week, Issa's colleague Rep. Ed Royce - also a Republican - announced his retirement, freeing up another seat that could flip to Democrats in 2018. But he became best known in Washington for turning the Oversight Committee into something like an Inquisition.

"I am forever grateful to the people of San Diego, Orange and Riverside counties for their support and affording me the honor of serving them all these years", Issa said in a statement Wednesday morning. Hillary Clinton won the district by almost 7 points in the 2016 election.

California holds a jungle primary, which means the top two finishers - regardless of party - advance to the general election.

But the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee suggested otherwise. "While Democrats fight with each other, Republicans will focus on fighting Democrats - and that's how we plan to win", Stivers said in a statement.

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