California Rep. Darrell Issa, Hillary Clinton's one-time chief antagonist, plans to retire

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

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

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.

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

Darrell Issa - a reliable ally of President Trump - won't seek re-election this year, the OC Daily reported on Wednesday.

Issa did not give a reason for his decision not to pursue a tenth term, but it likely had something to do with the daunting reelection challenge before him.

Issa was narrowly re-elected to his seat in 2016, when he won with 50.3% of the votes.

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.

But the 64-year-old walked a shakier line during the new administration.

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.

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 64-year-old, nine-term congressman did not immediately say why he won't run for Congress later this year or what he plans to do next.

Underscoring his recognition of his vulnerabilities, Issa voted against the Republican tax bill last month. California does not hold partisan primaries, but rather has a "jungle" primary that sends two candidates of any party to the November general election.

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