In a quintessential case of rooting for both parties to lose, former Republican congressman Darrell Issa is considering challenging current Republican congressman Duncan Hunter for his seat in California.
Even under indictment, Hunter won his 2018 House race handily, besting his challenger by 9,000 votes. However, his case is going to drag on. In July, a federal judge declined to dismiss the corruption charges against Hunter; Hunter is appealing that decision, so the judge pushed his trial back to January 2020 — not long before Hunter would have to mount another defense of his seat.
Maybe that’s why Issa smells blood in the water.
Issa has formed an exploratory committee to run against Hunter in California’s 50th Congressional District. Issa represented the 49th District for 20 years before he retired in January, and says he’s received “such a tremendous outpouring of encouragement” from supporters in the 50th and “across the Nation.” In case you’re wondering if Issa would have to move, House representatives must live in the state in which they are running, but not necessarily the district.
Apparently Issa’s been kicking around the idea for a while and debated running against Hunter in 2018. Issa may have been eyeing Hunter’s seat back then, because the 49th district was growing competitive. A Democrat ultimately won the seat in 2018.
Issa’s also stalled out in any advancement within the administration. Trump nominated Issa to be the head of the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, but that’s been in limbo for over a year now.
This is a big shift for Issa who, just a year ago, was accusing the U.S. attorney who indicted Hunter of “political misconduct” in doing so. Issa charged that the office waited until California’s primary had taken place, too late to remove Hunter’s name from the ballot.
But now Issa needs a job, so he’s fine with getting rid of Hunter. We’ll have to see if voters in the 50th want to trade one alleged criminal for another.