Democrats’ path to retaking the House just got a little bit easier. Again. On Wednesday, longtime California Republican Rep. Darrell Issa announced that he would retire from Congress rather than seek re-election this fall. Issa’s departure brings the number of GOP retirements from the House to 30—a record for the party—and comes just two days after another embattled Southern Californian, Rep. Ed Royce, announced his own departure. It is a gift to Democrats who had already put Issa’s district near the top of their list of 2018 targets, and who came within 1,621 votes of toppling the former car-alarm magnate in 2016.
After Trump’s election, progressive activists had made a special target of Issa. They did so both because of his newfound vulnerability—Issa’s affluent suburban district, like others in Orange County and the Atlanta and Houston areas, was one of those places where long-suffering Democrats made substantial gains in 2016—and because his notoriety. Issa cultivated a reputation as a partisan attack dog as chairman of the House oversight committee and took the lead in publicizing Obama-era scandals, such as Fast and Furious. His 49th district has become a hub for “Resistance” groups; just one day before Issa announced he would not seek re-election, a San Diego Indivisible chapter held a retirement party for the congressman outside one of his district offices.
Fun song at Retirement Party for @DarrellIssa ?
— Indivisible SanDiego (@SDIndivisible) January 10, 2018
With the retirements of Issa and Royce, two of the so-called “California Seven”—Republican members of Congress from Golden State districts won by Hillary Clinton—have now thrown up a white flag. It’s your move, Dana Rohrabacher.