San Diego

2 GOP Candidates Enter Race for Rep. Darrell Issa's Seat

Almost immediately after Congressman Darrell Issa announced his retirement Wednesday, two new Republican contenders had thrown their name into the race for California's 49th district. 

Current State Assemblymember Rocky Chavez and former State Assemblymember and current Board of Equalization Representative Diane Harkey, both Republicans, announced their plans Wednesday to enter the race to succeed Issa.

Chavez is a retired Marine Corps Colonel and currently represents California's 76th district. Harkey is the current chairwoman of California's Board of Equalization, representing District 4 in Orange, Riverside and San Diego Counties. 30 years of her career were spent in banking and finance.

In a statement announcing her running intentions Wednesday, Harkey said she plans to focus on reducing tax regulations and government audits. Her priorities as Congresswoman would be to "keep America safe and our economy strong and growing. The best possible military is non-negotiable."

Issues relating to the military are an important topic to many constituents in Dist. 49, home to Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, the largest Marine Corps training facility in the United States.

Chavez also said strengthening the military was a top priority in a statement announcing his congressional run. As Congressman he said he would focus on issues surrounding infrastructure, public safety, national security and strengthening the economy. 

Last year, Chavez made a brief run for U.S. Senate to take former California Sen. Barbara Boxer's seat following her retirement. He announced in a debate in February 2016 that he was dropping out of the race. 

"I'm not going to be running for the United States Senate, and I'll be leaving the field right now," Chavez said before walking off stage and out of the room. 

The two face a slew of Democratic Party contenders.

Challengers for Issa's seat include former Clinton policy advisor and one-time U.S. State Department official Sara Jacobs, real estate investor Paul Kerr, environmental lawyer Mike Levin and retired Marine Col. Doug Applegate (who Issa beat in 2016).

Issa announced his retirement in a statement Wednesday morning, calling his 18 years in Congress "the privilege of a lifetime."

The 49th District includes Camp Pendleton and the northern portions of San Diego County and southern Orange County.

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