Former Rep. Darrell IssaDarrell Edward IssaGOP sues California over Newsom’s vote-by-mail order Conservative group files challenge to California vote-by-mail order New poll shows tight race in key California House race MORE (R-Calif.) said Tuesday he will run for Rep. Duncan HunterDuncan HunterLobbying world Duncan Hunter granted delayed start to prison sentence over coronavirus New poll shows tight race in key California House race MORE’s (R-Calif.) seat if he is not confirmed to a top trade post in the Trump administration by Nov. 3.
Issa was nominated by President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE nearly a year ago to be director of the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, though his nomination has yet to be considered in the Senate.
“Quite frankly, if I’m not confirmed by Nov. 3, then I expect I’ll be a candidate for the congressional seat,” Issa, who represented San Diego County for 18 years in the House before retiring earlier this year, told Roll Call Tuesday.
Issa created an exploratory committee last month to run for California’s 50th Congressional District to challenge Hunter, who is fighting federal corruption charges.
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Hunter and his wife were indicted in August 2018 for allegedly misusing hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign funds and falsifying records. His wife, Margaret, pleaded guilty to one count of misusing funds, but the congressman is fighting the charges and is refusing to resign.
“There’s nothing wrong with his voting,” Issa said. “But he is injured in a way that, according to most polls I’ve seen — all polls I’ve seen — he cannot win reelection. And as a Republican, I don’t want to lose a seat that is clearly a seat that we need to have to get back in the majority,” he said.
While five other Republicans have also announced primary challenges to Hunter, Issa, who founded the Viper car alarm system and had been the wealthiest member of Congress, would pose a significant challenge to the incumbent with his ability personally beef up his campaign war chest.
Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar, who narrowly lost to Hunter in 2018, is running in the district again in 2020 and is likely to pose a substantial challenge to whichever Republican obtains the GOP’s congressional nomination.