SAN DIEGO, California — Republican Rep. Darrell Issa retains his seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, despite an aggressive challenge from Democrat Doug Applegate.
Hours after polls closed in California and results began pouring in, Issa appeared poised to lose his seat in the 49th district to Applegate, but late in the night, as nationally it became evident that Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump would win the race for President of the United States, Issa pulled ahead in his fight to save his own seat.
As of 10:24 a.m. PT on Wednesday morning and 100 percent of 511 voting precincts partially reporting, Issa pulled out a 51.1 percent win to Applegate’s 48.9 percent. The California Secretary of State logged 93,684 votes for Issa and 89,704 for Applegate at that time, a difference of less than 4,000 votes. He’s served nearly sixteen years in Congress.
In October, President Barack Obama helped Applegate raise cash at a minimum $10,000-a-plate fundraiser in La Jolla, California, according to CNN. Obama mocked Trump and Issa at the time on a number of fronts including deriding Issa’s offer of prayers at the annual White House Christmas party. CNN reported that Obama impersonated the prayer jibing, “Please change this man from the socialist Muslim.”
With the results of California’s June primary election it became clear that Issa’s seat was in peril. Issa received 50.8 percent of the vote to Applegate’s 45.5 percent. No party preference candidate Ryan Glenn Wingo received 3.7 percent of the primary election vote. Under California’s top-two primary system only Issa and Applegate moved on, leaving Wingo’s supporters up for grabs.
Back in February Issa warned that Donald Trump, not yet the Republican presidential nominee, could be the next Rep. Todd Akin whose comment about women contributed to the loss of his congressional seat. Issa heavily backed Florida Sen. Marco Rubio for president. Rubio ultimately lost the Republican presidential primary election in his home state and dropped out of the race. In March Issa suggested a brokered Republican National convention for then presidential candidate Rubio.
Trump’s closest primary election competitor Sen. Ted Cruz dropped out of the race in May. With only Trump left in the race, Issa endorsed Trump, the then presumptive Republican presidential nominee.
Despite support from Obama for Applegate and a cash infusion, the Democrats were not able to flip the seat.
San Diego Rep. Duncan Hunter, an early endorser of Trump, easily won re-election to the U.S. House of Representatives in his district, the 50th, on Tuesday night. He won with 64.2 percent to Democrat opponent Patrick Malloy’s 35.8 percent.
Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana