Republicans are falling out of their party faster than a seven-alarm fire. What is the deal with that, and who else has resigned?
A whole slew of legislators have chosen to retire rather than fight what will be an extremely difficult, if not impossible, re-election struggle. The latest to announce was Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), who said that after serving nine terms in Congress, he would not seek re-election. That was probably wise, because the Democrats had placed him at the top of their hit list for midterm elections.
The spokesperson for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Drew Godinich, said that former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton took Issa’s district by a big margin, according to ABC:
‘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.’
As the chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Issa had the power to “at any time conduct investigations of any matter,” according to The New Yorker. Issa saw his calling as harassing President Barack Obama’s administration.
Issa headed up investigations into the 2012 Benghazi, Libya killings of four Americans on President Barack Obama’s watch. He also investigated the President Obama himself, claiming the IRS mistreated conservative groups. In a third nearly un-ending investigation, dubbed the Fast and Furious Operation, Issa took the lead in hammering then Attorney General Eric Holder.
Federal U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) agents had let criminals purchase guns with the intent of following them back to criminal gangs. Unfortunately, the agents lost track of most of the weapons. After a U.S. Border Patrol agent was killed, officials found two of the marked weapons at the scene.
Issa barely won re-election in his San Diego-area district by a mere 1,600 votes. His seat is ideal for the Democrats, because midterm elections typically go to the party that does not control the White House.
Issa is the wealthiest person in Congress. The California representative was a born salesman and became a self-made millionaire with an amassed fortune over $250 million. It seems his life was not always so rosy.
Issa dropped out of high school and joined the Army. The New Yorker reported that there he did not receive the
“highest possible” ratings. Instead, Lance Williams of The Examiner said he:
‘Received unsatisfactory conduct and efficiency ratings and was transferred to a supply depot.’
Although Issa claimed he provided security for President Richard Nixon at the 1971 World Series, Williams caught him in a lie. It seems Nixon did not attend any of the games.
Jay Bergey, a member of the representative’s former Army unit, told Williams his best recollection of Issa was when the man stole his yellow Dodge Charger in 1971. Bergey told the New Yorker:
‘I confronted Issa. I got in his face and threatened to kill him, and magically my car reappeared the next day, abandoned on the turnpike.’
Ironically, the representative made part of his fortune selling car alarms for Viper cars.
Chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee, Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH) said, according to ABC:
‘We look forward to facing whoever limps out of the Democrats’ battle royale: black and blue, and broke.’
Democrats have to pick up 24 seats from the GOP to win control of the House. The Trump tax giveaway to the rich legislation put California Republicans in a bad place. The bill penalized California residents and other voters in blue states by eliminating the housing deduction where homes have been costly.
Two days before Issa resigned, Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA) announced he will be retirimg as soon as he finishes serving as chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Featured Image via Getty Images/Chip Somodevilla.