U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista, announced his retirement Wednesday morning, adding to a growing list of Republicans who plan to step down rather than face potential defeat in the 2018 midterm elections.
While Issa's ninth term will be his last, the Associated Press notes he left his mark by dogging then-President Barack Obama with probes into the 2012 killings of four Americans in Benghazi, Libya, and Internal Revenue Service audits of conservative groups.
He was first elected in 2000 and in 2010 became chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
Royce and Issa's districts are both in expensive television markets - further stretching national Republicans who are on defense across dozens of districts in the 2018 midterm elections.
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.
Issa, who joined the House in 2001, won re-election in 2016 by a half percentage point in a district that favored Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton to President Donald Trump.
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"The reality is that America is better for the previous year of this administration and this Congress", Issa said.
Throughout my service, I worked hard and never lost sight of the people our government is supposed to serve.
On Tuesday, another Southern California Republican, Rep. Ed Royce, who chairs the Foreign Affairs Committee, announced he too would not run for reelection.
Those activists have protested weekly outside Issa's Vista, California, district office - leading to a odd scene in May in which Issa stood on his rooftop, looking down at the protesters below. "Yet with the support of my family, I have decided that I will not seek re-election in California's 49th District", Issa said in a statement. "We are truly grateful for his service", said Rep. Steve Stivers, chairman of the NRCC.
But the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee suggested otherwise.
Republicans, meanwhile, say they will benefit from the fight between the Democrats seeking to claim the seat.
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