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North County congressman Issa to retire

11 January 2018, 12:34 | Marta Robbins

Darrell Issa Will Not Seek Re-Election: NBC News

Republican retirements in Congress mount as Rep. Darrell Issa steps aside

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., will not seek re-election to his Orange County congressional seat, he announced Wednesday, the latest in a string of retirements from Republican House members in recent weeks.

He did not give a reason for his decision to step down, but Mr. Issa was facing a tough re-election campaign.

Those results made Issa perhaps the most endangered Republican member of Congress heading into the 2018 election cycle.

Issa dogged then-President Barack Obama with probes into the 2012 killings of four Americans in Benghazi, Libya, and IRS mistreatment of conservative groups.

The nonpartisan Cook Political Report rates California's 49th congressional district as barely leaning Republican by 1-point and put Issa's reelection chances as a toss-up.

The Southern California Republican, who is the wealthiest member of Congress, was almost unseated in 2016 in when Democrat Douglas Applegate came within fewer than 2,000 votes of the incumbent.

"Throughout my service, I worked hard and never lost sight of the people our government is supposed to serve", he said.

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But in 2018, the Democrats' efforts to unseat Issa already began snowballing.

"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 wrote in a statement Wednesday.

He is the second top Republican lawmaker in the Congress to have announced his retirement, which some media outlets said is an indication of a Democratic wave for the upcoming November mid-term election. Billionaire mega-donor Tom Steyer had dedicated $30 million to taking on Republicans in 2018, with Issa's wealthy southern California district as a key race. But he became best known in Washington for turning the Oversight Committee into something like an Inquisition.

The politically charged investigation targeted Obama's secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, who at the time was considered the leading 2016 Democratic presidential candidate.

Those activists have protested weekly outside Issa's Vista, California, district office - leading to a unusual scene in May in which Issa stood on his rooftop, looking down at the protesters below.

Republicans, meanwhile, say they will benefit from the fight between the Democrats seeking to claim the seat.



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