GOP Rep. Darrell Issa, who said Wednesday he is not seeking reelection in California’s 49th District, has been discussing with colleagues the possibility of running in a neighboring San Diego district if embattled Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) resigns, multiple sources told The Hill.
Some of these discussions happened as recently as Wednesday, the day #Issa announced he would not be running for reelection in his coastal Southern California district after 17 years in the House.
Most of Washington took that to mean Issa, the former Oversight Committee chairman and Congress’s wealthiest member, was leaving Capitol Hill for good.
But in his statement, Issa never specifically said he was retiring from Congress.
“[W]ith the support of my family, I have decided that I will not seek re-election in California’s 49th District,” Issa said.
Later he added: “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.”
The specificity of the statement caught the attention of some California Republicans, who have been hearing rumors of the Issa plan for months. Before the 2010 redistricting, Issa represented some areas of Hunter’s neighboring 50th congressional district.
“The wording of his statement — specifically referring to his district number a couple of times — makes some people believe he left things open to run for Hunter’s seat if he resigns,” one California GOP source told The Hill.
An Issa spokesman did not respond to requests for comment for this story. Federal law doesn’t require a candidate to live in a district in order to run to represent it.