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Rep. Darrell Issa will not seek re-election

Rep. Darrell Issa will not seek re-election

"Yet with the support of my family, I have decided that I will not seek re-election in California's 49th District", Issa said in a statement Wednesday.

In a statement Wednesday, Issa did not give a reason for his departure but reflected on a two-decade political career that included jump-starting the process that led to the 2003 recall of Democratic California Gov.

Issa was a leader of the Republican congressional charge to investigate the Obama administration's handling of the attacks in Benghazi, where the US ambassador, Christopher Stevens, and three other Americans were killed by militants on September 11, 2012.

Issa, who made a national name for himself as an Obama administration antagonist while leading a House investigative committee, will not seek another term, NBC News has confirmed.

Issa's district in southern California was a primary target for Democrats in the coming election cycle.

Issa, who joined the House in 2001, won re-election in 2016 by a half percentage point in a district that favored Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton to President Donald Trump.

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But in 2018, the Democrats' efforts to unseat Issa already began snowballing.

Earlier this week, Issa's colleague Rep. Ed Royce - also a Republican - announced his retirement, freeing up another seat that could flip to Democrats in 2018.

"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", said Drew Godinich, spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. But he became best known in Washington for turning the Oversight Committee into something like an Inquisition. For a year, hundreds of activists have appeared weekly outside of Issa's office to protest.

California holds a jungle primary, which means the top two finishers - regardless of party - advance to the general election.

Yet another Republican congressman is choosing to retire rather than run for reelection, leaving the GOP's hold on the House of Representatives in further peril. "We are truly grateful for his service", said Rep. Steve Stivers, chairman of the NRCC.