California Primary: Darrell Issa Could Return to Congress

President Donald Trump, left, greets Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House in Washington, Monday, Aug. 14, 2017, before an event to sign a memorandum calling for a trade investigation of China. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
AP Photo/Alex Brandon

LOS ANGELES, California — Early returns from congressional races suggest that veteran Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) has a strong chance of returning to Congress in November, after a solid showing in the 50th congressional district.

Issa once represented the coastal 49th district, but retired in 2019, leaving the increasingly liberal seat to be won by left-wing Democrat Mike Levin. But the corruption conviction of Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) created a vacuum.

Several Republicans jumped into the race for the conservative 50th district, which lies east of San Diego and near the California border. The big names included former San Diego council member and GOP activist Carl DeMaio.

With 100% of precincts reporting, and mail-in ballots still being counted, Issa was in second place in the primary election in the 50th, behind Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar, the grandson of a notorious Palestinian terrorist.

California’s “jungle primary” rules pit all of the candidates from all of the parties against each other in the first round, leaving the top two finishers to due it out in the general election, regardless of party affiliation.

Campa-Najjar’s 34.4% put him first place in the primary, but Issa’s 24.7% and DeMaio’s 21.1% together dwarf his total. The district is heavily Republican, probably too heavily for Democrats to take, even with “ballot harvesting.”

One interesting factoid: a race between Campa-Najjar and Issa would be one of the few contests in U.S. history to feature two Arab-Americans running against each other.

Elsewhere in California, Democrat Christy Smith won the special election to replace former Rep. Katie Hill (D) in the 25th district, and will face second-place finisher Republican Mike Garcia in the fall. Republicans did well overall there, and in districts Democrats won in 2018.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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