Republican Rep. Darrell Issa of California says he will not seek re-election

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican Rep. Darrell Issa of California says he will not seek re-election.

In a press release, Issa said, with the help and support of his family, he decided not seek re-election in California's 49th District.

California's 49th District covers the northern coastal areas of San Diego County, a small portion of southern Orange County, and the Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.

Issa has been the representative of the 49th District since 2003. In the 2016 election, Issa won by a margin of less than 1 percentage point. 

"Representing you has been the privilege of a lifetime," Issa said in his press release. "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."

Issa's decision continues a string of GOP lawmakers who have decided to retire rather than take on what would be a difficult re-election battle.

Democrats had made defeating Issa one of their top priorities in the midterm elections.

Issa is a longtime nemesis of the Democrats and then-President Barack Obama. He once served as chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and led investigations of the IRS and its treatment of conservative groups and Benghazi.

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