It looks like Darrell Issa is back. Though votes are still being counted as of publication, Issa looks to have a solid second-place finish in Southern California’s Congressional District 50 on Super Tuesday. A win means Issa makes it to the general election in California’s “jungle primary.”
Issa came in second to Democrat Ammar-Campa Najjar in a field of five candidates, three Republicans and two Democrats, in California’s contested Congressional District 50, vacated by disgraced Congressman Duncan Hunter, who pleaded guilty to one count of campaign fund misuse. Hunter will be sentenced later this month.
CD 50 covers a portion of San Diego and Riverside counties.
Issa, the former congressman from California’s 49th Congressional District, announced his retirement before the 2018 election. That district was partially in Orange County and one of several that saw a sweep by Democrats in one of the last conservative bastions in the state.
Issa says he was no longer a match for the 49th district and also was asked by the Trump White House to serve as director of the U.S. Trade and Development Agency. The Senate never took up his nomination. Issa says he took himself out of the running for the job and jumped into the CD 50 race. Hunter’s father, the venerable former Congressman Duncan L. Hunter, endorsed Issa as did Mike Huckabee and Newt Gingrich, who did commercials for Issa.
My friend @DarrellIssa is the pro-@realDonaldTrump, pro-#MAGA, #ProLife candidate to vote for in #CA50! His opponent is a pro-abort Never Trumper who supports sanctuary cities. Easy decision for conservative folks in #CA50
— Gov. Mike Huckabee (@GovMikeHuckabee) March 2, 2020
He also got an atta boy from Congressman Matt Gaetz:
Proud to endorse my friend & True Trump Conservative @DarrellIssa in #CA50! Darrell will work with @realDonaldTrump to #BuildTheWall, stop sanctuary cities, and protect the unborn. Issa’s opponent @CarlDeMaio is a liberal pro-abortion Never Trumper who supports sanctuary cities!
— Matt Gaetz (@mattgaetz) February 27, 2020
Issa embraced President Trump during the race even though the California GOP chief urged candidates to keep their distance from him.
But Issa was a well-known entity to many voters in the district. He headed the House Oversight Committee during the Hillary Clinton email debacle.
Issa and Ammar-Campa Najjar were the top two left standing in California’s primary, which sends the top two candidates in many races to the general election final. Presidential races are not required to go to a run-off.
CD 50 has been a reliably Republican district for decades, but Campa Najjar has run before and come close to beating Hunter during the former congressman’s last campaign.
Several Republicans ran in the CD-50 primary. Former San Diego City Councilman and radio host Carl DeMaio looked to be within striking distance of the second spot. All told, Republicans won the majority of the votes.
Who knows whether that will hold up in November? It’s California and there’s a long time till then.