Darrell Issa served coastal San Diego and Orange counties for almost two decades in the U.S. House of Representatives, first in California’s 48th Congressional District, then in the 49th after redistricting. Issa, a Republican, did not seek reelection in 2018, and his former district flipped to Democrat Mike Levin that year. But with Rep. Duncan Hunter’s conviction of a federal corruption charge and resignation from the House of Representatives, Issa has chosen to run in Hunter’s 50th Congressional District.
His main opponents are radio talk show host and fellow Republican Carl DeMaio, and Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar, who narrowly lost to Hunter in 2018 while he was still facing a trial.
You used to represent the 49th Congressional District, although you have previously represented parts of what are now the 50th. What are your ties to this district?
I started my business when I came back to California in 1985 from Cleveland. My first facility for many years was in San Marcos. Many of my former employees were from San Marcos to Escondido all the way up to Temecula. And that’s one of the things about this district, is it’s two-thirds North County.
So, for most of my career, I represented Fallbrook, Bonsall — where I have a house and you know, my current residence — and Temecula, all the way up to Perris. And that’s the strange thing about the debate that’s going on. I’ve represented more of this district for longer than anybody else and I’m tied to this district.
The economy of two-thirds of the district, which is North County including the portion of Riverside that we think of as Temecula, we’re an economic dynamo. We’re 800,000 people. That’s twice the size of Cleveland, and if there were no San Diego, nobody would be saying this is anything other than a metropolis.
The district also, through gerrymandering, winds down and includes East County and that’s where, for decades, Duncan Hunter Sr. represented that district close to the wall, close to the border and that’s included in it. It’s about a third of it. And it’s an important third.
As a matter of fact, I would have two Indian tribes as constituents that I didn’t have previously. But the many tribes … I have a long history of working those federal issues.
Talk about your experience on the house oversight and government reform committee
I came to the (House Committee on Oversight and Reform) … the first day of my third term. I was somebody who came to Congress determined to be on the Energy and Commerce Committee. And for my first two years, I was on Judiciary, Foreign Affairs and Small Business, and then I got on the Energy and Commerce Committee and I discovered that it, as important as it is, was slow-moving and I missed the action. …read more…