Darrell Issa calls it quits: California Republican won't seek reelection
January 22 2018, 01:55 | Irvin Gilbert
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.
Issa's decision continues a string of GOP lawmakers who have chose to retire rather than take on what would be a hard re-election battle.
More Republican incumbents have already said they will retire this year (18) than the number of Democrats who did so ahead of the 2010 midterm elections (11), which swept Republicans into power, according to a former Democratic campaign official. 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.
Still, there is agreement that Issa faced a tough reelection fight in the fall.
In 2016, Issa narrowly won his re-election bid against Democrat Doug Applegate, a retired Marine colonel who has said he will run again this year.
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.
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. The Oversight investigation paved the way for the later appointment of a select committee that continued probing the incident as Clinton pursued her run for president.
"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 almost lost his seat in 2016, besting Democrat Douglas Applegate - among the four Democrats running this year - by less than a percentage point.
In a statement, Rep. Steve Stivers, the National Republican Congressional Committee chairman, said the GOP hopes an expensive and divisive Democratic contest in California's primary will allow the party to hold the seat.