The Hill’s senior staff writer Scott Wong was first on Twitter with the news this morning, linking to a story posted by the liberal news site OCDaily.net saying Congressman Darrell Issa was going to announce his resignation.
A few minutes later, Politico officially broke the story.
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) will not seek reelection, he announced Wednesday — the latest sign of a growing Democratic wave in this year’s midterm elections.
Issa, first elected in 2000, served as the House GOP’s chief interrogator of the Obama administration as chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee earlier this decade. But the political environment in his Southern California district shifted rapidly in recent years: Issa only won reelection by just over 1,600 votes in 2016, while Hillary Clinton carried the traditionally Republican seat in the presidential election by 7 percentage points.
The North County Republican’s decision to step down follows that of Rep. Ed Royce, chairman of the powerful House Foreign Affairs Committee, who announced on Monday he will not seek re-election.
There are four Democrats running for the 49th seat in November, including Doug Applegate, Mike Levin, Paul Kerr and Sara Jacobs. No Republicans have announced their candidacy as of yet.
Here’s a snip from the official statement released by the Congressman’s office:
Throughout my service, I worked hard and never lost sight of the people our government is supposed to serve. Yet with the support of my family, I have decided that I will not seek re-election in California’s 49th District.
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. Most humbling for me — and for anyone who represents this area — has been the special privilege of representing the Marines and Sailors of Camp Pendleton and their families. On countless occasions, and in every corner of the world I met them, I was inspired by their bravery and humbled by their sacrifice to keep us all safe from harm.
Representing you has been the privilege of a lifetime.
Here’s how his departure will be remembered, via Reuters:
U.S. Representative Darrell Issa, who headed a House of Representatives Oversight Committee investigation of American deaths in Benghazi, Libya, that found no wrongdoing, said on Wednesday he would not seek re-election in November.
Statement from Democratic candidate for 49th Congressional district Mike Levin, via Twitter:
Trump remains in the White House with a lap-dog Congress that refuses to hold him accountable. We face an unprecedented crisis that threatens our democracy. That doesn’t change if
@DarrellIssa retires. It’s absolutely critical that Democrats retake the House!
Needless to say, Indivisible chapters in San Diego and Orange County were elated by the news:
Congratulations to #Indivisible 49 & friends for RELENTLESS RESISTANCE @DarrellIssa is retiring after a solid year of the largest weekly congressional office protests in nation
Even the mighty can fall
Views of yesterday’s Retirement Party outside his office in rain pic.twitter.com/iIBp2w401f
— Indivisible SanDiego (@SDIndivisible) January 10, 2018
The political parties react, via Huffington Post:
“Secretary Clinton won this district by a huge margin in 2016, and the cohort of strong Democratic challengers, unprecedented grassroots activism, and historic investment by the DCCC in Southern California means we are in a strong position to elect a Democrat to the 49th District this fall,” said Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokesman Drew Godinich.
Rep. Steve Stivers (R-Ohio), chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, noted the multiple candidates Democrats have running in Issa’s district, saying it’s “fast becoming one of the bloodiest primaries in America.”
“While Democrats fight with each other, Republicans will focus on fighting Democrats ― and that’s how we plan to win,” he said. “We look forward to facing whoever limps out of the Democrats’ battle royale: black and blue, and broke.”
Jeff Singer at Daily Kos points out Issa’s retirement is no gimme for Dems, AND it’s possible the November ballot might not even list a Republican:
While Issa was always going to be in serious danger this cycle, it’s perversely possible the GOP could have a better shot without him—something you rarely say when an incumbent retires. On the one hand, it’s almost always harder to beat a scandal-free incumbent than win an open seat, and Issa was one politician who never needed to worry about having enough money to win.
However, Issa’s close call in 2016 showed he wasn’t exactly beloved at home, so the GOP might benefit from a fresh face in an area that usually favors Republicans down the ballot. That said, Issa just helped turbocharge the narrative that at-risk Republican members of Congress are flying for the exits, and any potential successor will be starting from scratch in an effort to hold this seat.
The candidate filing deadline is in mid-March. Under California law, all the candidates will run on one ballot, and the two top vote-getters will advance to November, regardless of party.
Russell Berman at The Atlantic has been tracking Congressional retirements:
The trend to this point gives a distinct edge to the Democrats. While roughly the same number of lawmakers in both parties are leaving their seats to run for higher office, just seven House Democrats are retiring outright or have already resigned, compared with 21 Republicans. (House members running for other offices often count as retirements, because it’s usually impractical or illegal to run for multiple positions at the same time.) Including those members who are leaving to run for another office, there will be 15 open House seats vacated by Democrats and 31 for Republicans. Democratic victories last November in gubernatorial and state legislative races in Virginia and New Jersey could spur more retirements among Republicans worried about the national political environment under Trump.
And although Democrats must defend far more Senate seats than Republicans in 2018—including several in states that Donald Trump won—all of the party’s incumbents are currently running for reelection. The retirements of Corker and Flake, along with a Democratic victory in December’s special election in Alabama, give Democrats an outside chance at retaking the Senate majority. In the House, they’ll need to pick up 24 seats, and the more Republicans retire in districts that Hillary Clinton carried last year, the more the GOP majority is at risk.
Difi Disses Donnie the Dotard… LOL
How 2017 went for women, in one quote: “She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.”
How 2018 is going for women, in one quote: “I just decided to do it.” https://t.co/ir8UjBpvPV
— Matthew Chapman (@fawfulfan) January 9, 2018
Feinstein smiles while stepping into an elevator as reporters ask about her unilaterally publishing Fusion GPS transcript. “I just decided to do it,” she says.
— Alice Ollstein (@AliceOllstein) January 9, 2018
Did you enjoy this article? Subscribe to “The Starting Line” and get an email every time a new article in this series is posted!
I read the Daily Fishwrap(s) so you don’t have to… Catch “the Starting Line” Monday thru Friday right here at San Diego Free Press (dot) org. Send your hate mail and ideas to DougPorter@SanDiegoFreePress.Org Check us out on Facebook and Twitter.