Lebanese-American Congressman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) will not run for re-election, his office announced Wednesday morning, setting up a likely-competitive 2018 campaign in one of California’s most important districts.
Issa, who served in Congress since 2001, is the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. His district covers areas of San Diego and Orange counties.
“Throughout my service, I worked hard and never lost sight of the people our government is supposed to serve,” Issa said in a statement. “Yet with the support of my family, I have decided that I will not seek re-election in California’s 49th District.”
A Lebanese-American, Issa served as director of the American Task Force for Lebanon, a nonprofit organization that works to advance Lebanon and its ties with the U.S.
His paternal grandparents both immigrated to the U.S. from Lebanon.
Issa, 64, was also the richest member of Congress. He holds wealth estimated to be in the $460 million range, which he made in part from his time as CEO of auto parts company Directed Electronics.
His retirement from Congress makes him the 31st House Republican not running for re-election.
FULL STATEMENT: Rep. Darrell Issa not seeking re-election:
Two decades ago, when I stepped away from the business I’d built to enter public service, I never could have imagined that a long-shot bid for U.S. Senate would lead to 18 years in the House of Representatives and endless opportunities to make a meaningful impact.
From the first successful recall of a sitting Governor in California history, to establishing new and stronger standards for government accountability, to protecting the Internet from harmful regulation, and enacting the nation’s first open data standards, we attempted and achieved much in the service of our nation.
Together, we put an end to abusive Congressional earmarks, strengthened the Violence Against Women Act, empowered better oversight of the executive branch, and cleared the course for better intellectual property protections to stop the piracy of American ingenuity.
Throughout my service, I worked hard and never lost sight of the people our government is supposed to serve. Yet with the support of my family, I have decided that I will not seek re-election in California’s 49th District.
I am forever grateful to the people of San Diego, Orange and Riverside counties for their support and affording me the honor of serving them all these years. Most humbling for me — and for anyone who represents this area — has been the special privilege of representing the Marines and Sailors of Camp Pendleton and their families. On countless occasions, and in every corner of the world I met them, I was inspired by their bravery and humbled by their sacrifice to keep us all safe from harm.
Representing you has been the privilege of a lifetime.
While my service to California’s 49th District will be coming to an end, I will continue advocating on behalf of the causes that are most important to me, advancing public policy where I believe I can make a true and lasting difference, and continuing the fight to make our incredible nation an even better place to call home.