U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., will not seek re-election in 2018, he said Wednesday.
Issa released an announcement on his decision, in which he called his 18 years in Congress "the privilege of a lifetime." Read the statement in full at the bottom of this article.
Issa is the 18th Republican member of the House to announce their retirement ahead of the 2018 elections, according to NBC News, while six Democrats have announced they are retiring. Earlier this week, powerful California Republican Rep. Ed Royce, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, also announced he wouldn't seek election at the end of his term
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee immediately released a statement crediting grassroots activism in the district.
"California Republicans clearly see the writing on the wall and realize that their party and its priorities are toxic to their re-election chances in 2018," DCCC spokesperson Drew Godinich said.
Issa was one of a handful of Republicans who rejected the GOP tax plan, which is likely to hit residents of high-tax states like California harder.
"On the average, it reduced taxes," he acknowledged in an interview with NBC 7 San Diego at the time. "But if you’re not average and your taxes go up, you’re asking 'How did Issa let that happen?' And I said it wasn’t going to happen on my watch, and I’ll do what I can to stop it."
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While Issa was often careful to not align himself too closely with the president, he would also not fully rebuke him.
After serving in Congress for nine terms, Issa was reelected in 2016 by fewer than 2,000 votes, while Hillary Clinton received more votes for president in Issa's district than Donald Trump.
Democrats across the country are anticipating better results in the 2018 midterm elections. The party has seen recent electoral victories in Virginia, New Jersey and even Alabama, and it has a strong generic ballot, according to the most recent NBC News/WSJ poll, which found that 50 percent of respondents preferred Democrats controlled Congress compared to 39 percent who wanted Republicans.
Challengers for Issa's seat include former Clinton policy advisor and one-time U.S. State Department official Sara Jacobs, real estate investor Paul Kerr, environmental lawyer Mike Levin and retired Marine Col. Doug Applegate (who Issa beat in 2016).
"We may have not always agreed, but he has always been a friend," said U.S. Rep. Juan Vargas (D-51st District). "I wish him the very best in his retirement."
"Darrell played a pivotal role in our delegation’s work together to secure $500 million to modernize the San Ysidro Border Crossing," said U.S. Rep. Scott Peters (D-52nd District). "I wish him, Kathy, and the Issa family all the best upon his retirement later this year."
Issa's 49th District includes Camp Pendleton, the largest Marine Corps training facility in the United States, and the northern portions of San Diego County and southern Orange County.
Here is Issa's statement in full:
Two decades ago, when I stepped away from the business I'd built to enter public service, I never could have imagined that a long-shot bid for U.S. Senate would lead to 18 years in the House of Representatives and endless opportunities to make a meaningful impact.
From the first successful recall of a sitting Governor in California history, to establishing new and stronger standards for government accountability, to protecting the Internet from harmful regulation, and enacting the nation's first open data standards, we attempted and achieved much in the service of our nation.
Together, we put an end to abusive Congressional earmarks, strengthened the Violence Against Women Act, empowered better oversight of the executive branch, and cleared the course for better intellectual property protections to stop the piracy of American ingenuity.
Throughout my service, I worked hard and never lost sight of the people our government is supposed to serve. Yet with the support of my family, I have decided that I will not seek re-election in California's 49th District.
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. Most humbling for me -- and for anyone who represents this area -- has been the special privilege of representing the Marines and Sailors of Camp Pendleton and their families. On countless occasions, and in every corner of the world I met them, I was inspired by their bravery and humbled by their sacrifice to keep us all safe from harm.
Representing you has been the privilege of a lifetime.
While my service to California's 49th District will be coming to an end, I will continue advocating on behalf of the causes that are most important to me, advancing public policy where I believe I can make a true and lasting difference, and continuing the fight to make our incredible nation an even better place to call home.