California US Rep. Darrell Issa to retire

California US Rep. Darrell Issa to retire

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.

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.

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.

On Tuesday one of Issa's California colleagues, Rep. Ed Royce, also announced that he would not seek reelection.

Andrew Godinich, a DCCC spokesman, said Democrats are "in a strong position" to claim the seat in November and blamed the Republican legislative agenda for Issa's retirement.

The congressional district Issa has represented since 2001 - California's 49th - is one of 23 won by Democrat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election that are currently held by Republicans, who are now considered vulnerable in this November's congressional elections.

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Issa has been known for introducing and pushing Congressional legislation that specifically targets Indian IT companies, especially those that use H-1B visas.

Republican Rep. Darrell Issa will retire from Congress in 2018, avoiding a hard campaign fight in a district that has been a primary focus for Democrats in the coming election. He is also chairman of the House Oversight Committee.

Royce's district backed Clinton by 8 percentage points.

In a statement, Issa said that "with the support of my family, I have decided that I will not seek re-election in California's 49th District".

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

The National Republican Congressional Committee expressed optimism that the seat will remain red. "We look forward to facing whoever limps out of the Democrats' battle royale: black and blue, and broke".

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