Ex-Rep. Darrell Issa Will Run Against Indicted Congressman Duncan Hunter

on Sep26
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2019-09-26 12:05:41

Former U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa announced Thursday he will run against indicted fellow Republican Congressman Duncan Hunter, as three contendors announced they would drop their bid to support the Republican candidate.

“Today I’m announcing that I will be the next congressman for the 50th Congressional District,” Issa said surrounded by San Diego County Supervisor Diane Jacob, Escondido Mayor Sam Abed, El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells and Navy SEAL Larry Wilske. 

Abed, Wells and Wilske said they would drop out of the race for the eastern San Diego County district to support Issa’s campaign. 

“With Darrell Issa getting involved in the race, I feel confident that the right man is here to lead us into the future,” Welss said. “And I feel safe and confident in taking back my promise to run for the 50th district. I am going to drop out of the race and support Darrell Issa fully.” 

Abed said Issa was the district’s best choice to keep the Republican stronghold red in the next election. 

“In 2018 it was very close,” he said. “Our common goal is very simple, its to keep the 50th District in the Republican hands.

Rep. Hunter held on to his seat by just over 9,000 votes amid a pending federal corruption trial in which the congressman is accused of using campaign funds for personal expenses. His trial is slated to begin in early 2020. 

His Democratic opponent, Amar Campa-Najjar, a Latino and Arab-American who worked for the Obama administration, nearly clenched the seat in what had been considered a safe district for decades. 

The race was one of several contested congressional districts in California that could have caused a shift in the balance of power in the House of Representatives.

When asked about his political opponents, Issa said his first steps would be to ensure the 50th District knew his goals. 

““We’re not here to talk about any of the other candidates, not even at this point Campa-Najar, the Democrat. We’re here to talk about one team, one goal for this district and I think that’s what I am going to be campaigning on.” 

Issa formed a committee to explore a run at the 50th Congressional District last month and said in a statement at the time, “I have received such a tremendous outpouring of encouragement from supporters inside the district and around the state and across the nation.”

On Thursday, he said, ahead of his announcement, he received thousands of letters of support and checks averaging $82 a piece for his campaign. 

Issa represented the 49th District representing both San Diego and Orange counties for 18 years before announcing in Jan. 2018 he would not seek re-election. His last term in office for the swing district was secured by fewer than 2,000 votes.

The seat is currently occupied by Democrat Mike Levin.

Campa-Najjar, former politician Republican Carl DeMaio, Independent Helen Horvath and David Edick are also expected to run for the 50th District. 

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