Rep. Darrell Issa To Retire, Adding To Record GOP Exodus From Congress:

Rep. Darrell Issa To Retire, Adding To Record GOP Exodus From Congress:

Updated at 12:05 p.m. ET

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., announced he will not seek re-election Wednesday, adding to a record number of House Republicans heading for the exits ahead of the 2018 midterms — perhaps seeing the writing on the wall of a possible wave election for Democrats.

There are now 31 Republicans who will not seek re-election in November: 19 who are retiring outright and another 12 who are running for higher office. And that list is is expected to grow in the coming weeks.

The last time a party had nearly that many members retire during a midterm year was in 1994, when 28 Democrats left and the GOP subsequently took back control of Congress in the Republican Revolution. Now, it’s Republicans who find themselves in the opposite and unenviable position. Just one year into his term, President Trump has record low approval ratings, congressional Republicans have had few legislative achievements save for the tax overhaul they passed last month, and Democrats seem more fired up than ever to issue a rebuke to the GOP at the ballot box this year.

“There’s no question when you look at these midterms that the Democratic base is more intense than the Republican base, and that offers some significant challenges to Republicans in holding the House, and retirements in marginal seats like [Rep. Ed] Royce’s don’t help,” said former Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., a former National Republican Congressional Committee chairman.

On Monday, Royce, a California Republican, added his name to the retirement roster. The House Foreign Affairs chairman is now one of eight committee chairmen who are calling it quits. And now with Issa also leaving, there are four open districts held by a GOP member that Trump lost last election, making those top Democratic opportunities.

House Republican Retirements

A record number of 31 House Republicans have already announced they won’t seek re-election. This list does not include members who have already resigned, if their seat will be filled by a special election before November.

MEMBER
YEAR ELECTED
SEEKING HIGHER OFFICE?
COOK PARTISAN VOTING INDEX
2016 RESULTS
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Fla. 1989 No D+5 Clinton, 58%-39%
Dave Reichert, Wash. 2004 No EVEN Clinton, 46%-43%
Ed Royce, Calif.* 1992 No EVEN Clinton, 52%-43%
Frank LoBiondo, N.J. 1994 No R+1 Trump, 50%-46%
Darrell Issa, Calif. 2000 No R+1 Clinton, 51%-43%
Charlie Dent, Pa. 2004 No R+4 Trump, 51%-44%
Dave Trott, Mich. 2014 No R+4 Trump, 49%-45%
Steve Pearce, N.M. 2002; 2010 Governor R+6 Trump, 50%-40%
Ron DeSantis, Fla. 2012 Governor R+7 Trump, 46%-40%
Pat Tiberi, Ohio* 2000 No R+7 Trump, 52%-41%
Jim Renacci, Ohio 2010 Governor R+8 Trump, 56%-39%
Joe Barton, Texas 1984 No R+9 Trump, 54%-42%
Lynn Jenkins, Kansas 2008 No R+10 Trump, 56%-37%
Lamar Smith, Texas* 1986 No R+10 Trump, 52%-42%
Lou Barletta, Pa. 2010 Senate R+10 Trump, 60%-36%
Ted Poe, Texas 2004 No R+11 Trump, 52%-43%
Sam Johnson, Texas 1991 No R+13 Trump, 54%-40%
Bob Goodlatte, Va.* 1992 No R+13 Trump, 59%-35%
Blake Farenthold, Texas 2010 No R+13 Trump, 60%-36%
Gregg Harper, Miss.* 2008 No R+13 Trump, 61%-37%
Kristi Noem, S.D. 2010 Governor R+14 Trump, 62%-32%
Jeb Hensarling, Texas* 2002 No R+16 Trump, 62%-34%
Todd Rokita, Ind. 2010 Senate R+17 Trump, 64%-30%
Jim Bridenstine, Okla. 2012 NASA Administrator (awaiting confirmation) R+17 Trump, 61%-33%
Luke Messer, Ind. 2012 Senate R+18 Trump, 67%-26%
Bill Shuster, Pa.* 2001 No R+19 Trump, 69%-27%
John Duncan, Tenn. 1988 No R+20 Trump, 65%-30%
Marsha Blackburn, Tenn. 2002 Senate R+20 Trump, 67%-28%
Raul Labrador, Idaho 2010 Governor R+21 Trump, 64%-25%
Evan Jenkins, W.Va. 2014 Senate R+23 Trump, 73%-23%
Diane Black, Tenn.* 2010 Governor R+24 Trump, 72%-24%

Note: Asterisks denote committee chairs.

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