National News

California Congressman Won’t Seek Re-election

Posted January 9, 2018 10:37 a.m. EST

Democrats looking to win back Congress have said for months that the road to success leads through California and its lonely outpost of Republican House members. That has seemed increasingly true, as President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans promoted policies that seemed particularly damaging to California — most recently, the tax reform bill, which could be costly for many California homeowners because it eliminates deductions for state and local taxes.

The Democrats’ task got a little bit easier Monday after one of their top Republican targets — Rep. Ed Royce of Orange County — announced that after 13 terms, he would join a flood of House Republicans who have decided not to run for re-election. He is the first from California.

Royce is chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee and, under House rules, would have to give up that position at the end of this year. Royce said he wanted to use his last year in that position to focus on “urgent threats facing our nation,” including “Vladimir Putin’s continued efforts to weaponize information to fracture western democracies.”

“With this in mind, and with the support of my wife Marie, I have decided not to seek re-election in November,” Royce said.

Royce made no reference to his own political situation. He voted in favor of the tax bill. He also voted in favor of repealing President Barack Obama’s health care law, another vote that could have been a problem for him this November.

Democrats had already been lining up to run against him, most recently Gil Cisneros, a wealthy philanthropist and Navy veteran. California has nonpartisan elections, where the top two candidates in a primary face each other in a runoff. (Royce’s opponent would almost certainly have been a Democrat.)

There are 14 Republicans in the state congressional delegation. Seven of them represent districts that voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016. Orange County was once a Republican bastion in the state — it is the birthplace of Richard Nixon — but less so today. Clinton won that county as well, in the process of beating Trump by nearly 4 million votes in the state.