On Wednesday, Rep. Darrell Issa (R – Calif.) announced he would not be running for re-election…in his district, California’s 49th.
But that was so yesterday.
On Thursday, The Hill reported Issa is considering running in another conservative southern California district, the 50th.
Rep. Duncan Hunter currently holds the seat, but Hunter is facing an ethics investigation over campaign finance transactions that could make it difficult, if not impossible, for him to run for re-election.
Last year, FBI agents searched the offices of Hunter’s campaign treasurer and seized evidence in an investigation into whether his campaign misused campaign funds. Hunter’s campaign spent more than $1,300 in video game purchases, something he blamed on his son, as well as other funds for airfare for the family rabbit and his children’s private school tuition.
Subtle details in Issa’s announcement that he would not be running for re-election lend credence to the possibility. Issa’s statement mentioned the 49th district several times. He also never states he is retiring from politics or Congress.
The specificity of the statement caught the attention of some California Republicans, who have been hearing rumors of the Issa plan for months. Before the 2010 redistricting, Issa represented some areas of Hunter’s neighboring 50th congressional district.
“The wording of his statement — specifically referring to his district number a couple of times — makes some people believe he left things open to run for Hunter’s seat if he resigns,” one California GOP source told The Hill.
Even Rep. Hunter has said he wouldn’t be surprised if Issa ran for his seat in the 50th district.
Hunter, who has been dogged by federal and congressional ethics investigations, said he would not put it past Issa to seek his seat if something bad were to happen to him. Still, Hunter said he had no plans to resign this cycle and had not heard about discussions or rumors of Issa running for his seat.
“If I was to blow up in the air, then he would be running for it,” Hunter told The Hill on Thursday. “If I was to blow up, then he would run for the seat.”
“If I blow up, yes. Why wouldn’t he run for my seat if I was to blow up in the air?”
While Issa barely held on to his seat in the 49th district in 2016, the 50th district remains more conservative and would likely be a walk for Issa if Hunter wasn’t running.
While I’m not a huge fan of legislators remaining in office for decades, California’s 50th district could do worse than Issa. He’s been a valuable and popular member of Congress to those inside and outside of his district.