According to sources, Rep. Darrell Issa, who represents the 49th Congressional District, will announce his retirement sometime today. Board of Equalization member Diane Harkey, a Republican, is expected to announce her candidacy for the seat.
Issa is a self-made multimillionaire businessman who was first elected to Congress in 2000, and gained a high profile during his tenure as chairman of the House Government Oversight Committee. He previously ran for U.S. Senate in 1998, narrowly losing the primary to then-state Treasurer Matt Fong.
CD49 encompasses north San Diego County and south Orange County. Issa had a near-death experience during in November 2016, eking out a re-election victory over Democrat Doug Applegate. Applegate is running again this year, as is former OC Democratic Party executive director Mike Levin. Both have raised ample campaign war chests. Issa had been considered one of the Democrats top targets in 2018.
Harkey was elected to the state Board of Equalization in 2014 after serving six years in the state Assembly representing district that is roughly coterminous with CD49. Harkey narrowly lost a state Senate special election in 1995, and first entered elective politics by winning election to the Dana Point City Council in 2004.
UPDATE: Harkey’s campaign for CD49 will have the support of Rep. Issa. Also endorsing Harkey is the second-ranking House Republican, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield.