>> He was one of President Obama's top antagonists in Washington. Now, Republican Representative Darrell Issa says he's retiring from Congress. The latest in a growing Republican stampede for the exits, ahead of what could be a difficult election for the GOP in November. I'm Andy Sullivan in Washington where the Republican exodus is picking up steam.
21 House Republicans are retiring this year, another 9 are stepping down to run for higher office. That makes it harder for the GOP to retain control of its majority in the chamber. Without well funded, well known incumbents sticking around, the Democrats stand a better chance of picking up the 24 seats they need to win control of the chamber.
That would give them a powerful platform to investigate the Trump administration and effectively put an end to the President's agenda. Issa earned a fortune as the head of a car alarm company before entering congress in 2001. As head of the House Oversight Committee, he took on the Obama administration for everything from the Benghazi attacks in Libya, to the failed gun smuggling sting known as Fast and Furious.
>> Operation Fast and Furious is a poster child for what you don't do with deadly weapons.>> But he's had a harder time getting reelected in recent years in his California district, winning barely 50% of the vote in 2016. Issa's announcement comes one day after another powerful Republican said he is stepping down, Ed Royce, head of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
>> Political forecasters say Democrats are now favored to win both of these seats. They're prime examples of the wealthy suburban terrain that could determine which party controls the House next year. And given Trump's low approval ratings, Issa almost certainly isn't the last Republican to put in his notice.
Expect to see more of these announcements in the weeks to come.