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Rep. Darrell Issa surprises with plans to not seek re-election

12 January 2018

On Monday, Rep. Ed Royce (R-California), the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, also announced he would not seek reelection in California's 39th congressional district, which includes parts of Los Angeles, Orange, and San Bernardino counties. That means two of the four competitive Orange County House races are guaranteed new faces next year.

It remains to be seen whether Republicans can hold the Royce and Issa seats-or any of the other contested districts-but there is a strong indication that Congressmen Royce and Issa were looking to duck the tribulations of a very bumpy political ride in 2018.

That's more than double the number of House Democrats - 16 - who are leaving this year, underscoring the hard political conditions Republicans face ahead of the 2018 midterm elections.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which helps elect Democrats to the House, blamed GOP policies coming out of Washington for Republicans' vulnerabilities in the Golden State.

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Royce is the latest of some 30 House Republicans who have announced they are retiring.

Royce won reelection by 14 points even though Clinton carried his district by almost 9 points, compared to Issa's razor-thin margin.

Ed Royce (R-Calif.), a veteran lawmaker who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee, announced he won't seek re-election this year.

Royce is one of several relatively moderate Republicans from California whose jobs have become endangered as the state has become increasingly Democratic. Republicans have pressed Democrats to abandon any challenges to the Yancey and Thomas wins. We look forward to facing whoever limps out of the Democrats' battle royale: "black and blue, and broke".

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Issa was narrowly re-elected in 2016 by 1,621 votes - a less than one percent margin - over retired Marine Corps.

Issa barely won reelection in 2016 by just over half a percentage point in a San Diego-area district that went for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton by about 7 points. The candidates include Dana Point's Diane Harkey, who is the chair of the California State Board of Equalizaiton; the San Deigo Union-Tribune reported Oceanside's Rocky Chavez, now the Assembly member of the state's 76th district; and Joshua Shoonover, a patent attorney and engineer with a degree in chemical physics.

Former San Diego Councilman Carl DeMaio is also considered a possible contender, particularly since he's recently gained attention for his effort to repeal a state gas tax that funds transportation projects.

As NPR's Jessica Taylor reported, there are now 31 Republicans not seeking re-election in 2018. Despite a solidly Republican district, Rep. Duncan Hunter, on the Democrats' hit list because he is carrying a truckload of baggage over his campaign finance maneuvers.

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Rep. Darrell Issa surprises with plans to not seek re-election