Faulconer Out of Gov. Race; Would Issa Come In?

Joel Fox
Editor and Co-Publisher of Fox and Hounds Daily

Pure political “Chaos Theory” conjecture here, but could San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s decision not to pursue the governor’s job open the door for Congressman Darrell Issa to make a bid?

What prompted this thinking was an interesting article in the San Diego Union Tribune by Michael Smolens that Faulconer’s decision not to pursue the governor’s race might hurt Issa’s chance for re-election. As Smolens points out, a strong, recognizable Republican at the top of the ticket next year would assist Issa who survived the closest congressional contest in 2016. A strong Republican candidate for governor would likely bring out more Republican voters who could help the numerous California Republican congressional members targeted for defeat by the Democrats in 2018.

Recognizing that 2018 is not 2016 and political winds will shift over time, Issa by no means is ready to put up a white flag over his congressional seat.

However, let’s recall that Issa has heard the calling for governor before. Issa was the major funder of the signature drive to recall Gov. Gray Davis in 2003. At the time, the congressman indicated he was ready to jump into the governor’s race once the recall qualified when action movie hero Arnold Schwarzenegger leaped off the Silver Screen and into the race forcing Issa to reconsider.

Now Issa faces a tough test to keep his congressional seat. He is one of the wealthiest members of congress and could help fund a credible gubernatorial campaign even getting into the race later than other candidates.

Would he spend the money on a difficult run when most pundits argue that a Republican would have small odds in winning the California governor’s race? In other words, is their value to Issa for taking one for the team?

If he announced his candidacy for a job he has shown interest in he could put together a convincing campaign. As a strong head of the ticket he arguably would help his Republican colleagues in congress who are looking for a reliable Republican turnout on Election Day. Politics are unpredictable (see Clinton, President Hillary). Even if he loses, but his action helps hold the House for Republicans, the party would be grateful and perhaps other positions, like an ambassadorship, would await Issa’s sacrifice.

He would have to weigh all this against the tough re-election race he faces in the 49th Congressional District.

Chaos Theory is the idea that small changes in complex systems can have big, unpredictable effects. Faulconer saying no to the governor’s race just might lead—surprisingly–to Issa saying yes.

Comment on this article


Please note, statements and opinions expressed on the Fox&Hounds Blog are solely those of their respective authors and may not represent the views of Fox&Hounds Daily or its employees thereof. Fox&Hounds Daily is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the site's bloggers.