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.
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.
Those results made Issa perhaps the most endangered Republican member of Congress heading into the 2018 election cycle. He later targeted Clinton as she moved toward seeking the presidency over her response to the deadly 2012 terrorist attacks on Americans in Benghazi, Libya.
In 2016, Issa narrowly won his re-election bid against Democrat Doug Applegate, a retired Marine colonel who has said he will run again this year.
Democrats noted that Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton won the district by a large margin.
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.
Issa's announcement comes two days after another California Republican, Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Edward Royce, announced his own retirement - leaving a nearby Orange County district amid a strong Democratic push for his ouster.
But in 2018, the Democrats' efforts to unseat Issa already began snowballing.
Royce's district backed Clinton by 8 percentage points. For a year, hundreds of activists have appeared weekly outside of Issa's office to protest. "Yet with the support of my family, I have decided that I will not seek re-election in California's 49th District", he said in a statement.
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.
Republicans, meanwhile, say they will benefit from the fight between the Democrats seeking to claim the seat.
But the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee suggested otherwise.