In one of the most hotly-contested House races in recent memory, California Republican Darrell Issa was declared the winner Monday in California’s 49th congressional district contest.
With a 1,982 vote advantage as of Monday, 51 percent of the vote, Issa won reelection by defeating challenger Doug Applegate, a retired Marine officer.
Although the race required three weeks to settle, Applegate did not go quietly: Upon learning of his election loss, Issa’s challenger immediately announced his intent to unseat the eight-term incumbent in 2018.
Equally belligerent in his victory, the contest to determine which man would represent California’s 49th district witnessed Issa file suit against Applegate for libel over a handful of Applegate campaign advertisements, which Issa says damaged his reputation.
Issa is seeking $10 million in damages and pledged to donate the proceeds to charity.
A fierce critic of President Obama, as former chairman of the House Oversight Committee, Issa roiled many Democrats with his persistent inquiries into the Obama administration, launching investigations into Afghanistan, Wikileaks, the Food and Drug Administration, Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) and the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission.
Holding the gavel as head of the committee, Issa once pledged round-the-clock investigations of the Obama White House.
Issa’s most notable target as head of the Oversight Committee was the IRS and key employee, Lois Lerner. Once in his cross hairs, Issa constantly battered the department and tied the bureau’s refusal to grant tax-exempt status to conservatives groups to the Obama White House.
His unrelenting probes earned the scorn of fellow Democrats and led the Democratic Caucus to place Issa’s name near the top of its “Red to Blue” campaign, an effort to target vulnerable GOP officeholders with financing, and strategic support to unseat them.
In earning his razor-thin victory, his tightest race during his tenure, Issa returns to seats on the House Judiciary and Foreign Affairs Committees.
[Roll Call] [Los Angeles Times] [San Diego Union-Tribune]