With Schwarzenegger In, Issa Opts Out of Recall Election

Posted August 7, 2003 at 3:10pm

In the latest bombshell to hit the California recall race, Rep. Darrell Issa (R) announced Thursday that he would not put his name on the ballot to replace Gov. Gray Davis (D).

Issa’s tearful statement outside the registrar of voters office in San Diego came as a surprise, given that he has been the primary financial backer of the recall effort. The GOP lawmaker said he would continue to fund the recall despite not being a candidate himself.

“It is my desire to see that the recall continues, that Gray Davis is recalled and that California has a brighter day,” Issa said, pausing frequently to fight back tears.

Instead, Issa said, he would keep his job in the House and continue to work on Middle East peace issues.

Issa has put about $1.7 million of his own money into the recall effort and has long expressed his desire to run for governor. But actor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s unexpected announcement Wednesday night that he would enter the race as a Republican appears to have been a key factor in Issa’s decision, given that the 49-year-old House Member has long vowed that he would be on the recall ballot.

As of Thursday afternoon, no Members of Congress had committed to running in the recall election. Reps. Elton Gallegly (R) and Loretta Sanchez (D) have both said they are considering bids, while Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) has said she will not run.