Royce Will Not Seek Reelection in 2018

WASHINGTON DC- OCTOBER 24 Chairman Darrell Issa speaks during a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on Capitol Hill

Rep. Darrell Issa of California announced his retirement on Wednesday, according to CNN.

"Throughout my service, I worked hard and never lost sight of the people our government is supposed to serve".

Shawn Steel, a member of the Republican Party of California, said Royce's announcement was "a shocker" and that the congressman was definitely not having a "re-election problem". Issa's decision marks the second time in two days that a Republican congressman from California has publicly declared that they would rather retire at the end of their current term than seek a new one.

If Democrats were to win control of the House, Rep. Eliot Engel, now the foreign affairs ranking Democrat, is expected to take the gavel.

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. We look forward to facing whoever limps out of the Democrats' battle royale: "black and blue, and broke", Stivers said in a statement.

Whether Issa's seat flips remains to be seen: although Hillary Clinton carried the district in the 2016 presidential elections, Inside Elections on Wednesday called the race for Issa's seat a toss-up.

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Royce, who was planning on stepping down as chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee this year regardless of his reelection decision, said he wanted to "focus fully on the urgent threats facing our nation" during the final year of his chairmanship, the Associated Press reported.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton won Issa's district by about seven points and Royce's district by almost nine points during the 2016 presidential election, leading many to believe that Democrats could flip both districts this year.

"In the 49th District, Democrats are locked in what is fast becoming one of the bloodiest primaries in America".

Democrats still have an uphill climb, however: in most states, Republican victories in the wave election of 2010 - which was also a Census year - led to the drawing of congressional districts in ways that favored the GOP.

After Royce announced his retirement on Monday, the Cook Political Report also moved his district from "lean Republican" to "lean Democratic".

Issa, 64, began serving in Congress in 2001.

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