Rep. Darrell Issa is showing signs that he knows he is in for a tough re-election fight.
“I haven’t had a yard sign in 16 years. And you know, there are people that are calling and getting yard signs,” the California Republican said in an interview with The San Diego Union Tribune.
Issa faces retired Marine Col. Doug Applegate in the Golden State’s 49th District. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has gotten behind Applegate’s bid, placing the race on its Red to Blue program to provide strategic, financial and communications assistance.
Issa, an 8-term congressman, is spending more time in the district, the Union Tribune reported.
“I’ve talked to Darrell more in the last month than I have in the last 10 years,” Republican Oceanside Councilman Jerry Kern told the newspaper. “Darrell is highly engaged in the district stuff. … For the most part, Darrell was engaged on the national stage, but now he’s rolling up his sleeves and getting into the down-home politics.”
Francine Busby, the head of the San Diego County Democratic Party, said Issa has earned the ire of Democrats nationally after his involvement in congressional hearings about issues largely seen as partisan witch hunts such as the Benghazi investigation and supposed malpractice by Hillary Clinton.
“They don’t even know who (Applegate) is. They’re anti-Issa,” she said.
But Applegate is not without problems. Earlier this month, Politico reported that Applegate’s ex-wife was granted two temporary restraining orders after Applegate was accused of stalking and harassing her. The Applegate campaign later released a statement from his ex-wife who said she backs his bid for Congress and will be voting for him in the general election, the Los Angeles Times reported.