My, what a difference a day makes! Just yesterday, we were sure that when Darrell Issa said he wouldn’t seek reelection to his congressional seat in California’s 49th district (that’s a lot of districts!), he meant he was retiring from Congress to go steal cars and do arson in the private sector, because he’s finally alienated even the fairly conservative people of San Diego. Hillary Clinton won the district in 2016, and Issa barely squeaked out a 1,600 vote win against Democrat and Marine Colonel Doug Applegate. So it seemed reasonable that Issa might be ready to hang up his spurs and his Scripto Aim-n-Flame BBQ lighter.
But maybe not! The Hill reports today that “multiple sources” say Issa may have his eye on a run in a neighboring district, at least if grifty campaign fund misusing Duncan “Rabbit Transit” Hunter leaves Congress.
Issa never actually said he was retiring, or even that he was leaving Congress — in fact, his announcement included some very canny “I’m not touching you” phrasing:
[W]ith the support of my family, I have decided that I will not seek re-election in California’s 49th 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.
Adding to the rumormongering: Before redistricting in 2010, Issa represented parts of what became the 50th District, now represented by Hunter. Maybe he figures there are just enough Republicans there who don’t utterly loathe him that he’d have a better chance? The Hill says the 50th is more rightwing, and that Donald Trump actually beat Hillary Clinton by 15 points there. This does not, however, take into account the basic problem Issa would have to overcome: Being Darrell Goddamn Issa.
Issa wouldn’t comment on the rumors himself, and Hunter, who has had any number of little ol’ ethics problems, says he’s not planning to resign. But he did offer one peculiarly specific scenario in which he thought an Issa bid for the 50th district would make perfect sense: