Royce Will Not Seek Reelection in 2018

Rep. Ed Royce

Orange County Congressman Ed Royce, a targeted Republican, announced Monday he will not run for re-election in one of several seats Democrats hope to capture in 2018.

"It wasn't a re-election problem, that's for sure", said Republican National Committeeman Shawn Steel, who called Royce's announcement "a shocker".

Royce became the 29th House Republican to announce plans to not seek reelection this year, compared to 14 Democrats who have made the same announcement.

"In this final year of my Foreign Affairs Committee chairmanship, I want to focus fully on the urgent threats facing our nation, including: the brutal, corrupt and risky regimes in Pyongyang and Tehran, Vladimir Putin's continued efforts to weaponize information to fracture western democracies, and growing terrorist threats in Africa and Central Asia". At least seven of the most vulnerable seats are in California, where Republicans represent districts that voted for Hillary Clinton. Today, Republicans are ahead by two percentage points.

The suburban district southeast of Los Angeles has significant chunks of Hispanic, Asian and highly educated voters, a combination "that makes Democrats salivate", said political scientist Jack Pitney, who teaches at Claremont McKenna College.

Moreover, the Cook Report and Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball both consider the 39th to be "leaning Republican", which could lead to a competitive race.

Republicans hold a slight edge in the district with 36 percent of the electorate, followed by Democrats at 34 percent. No preference voters make up almost 26 percent of the district, up from 23 percent in 2012.

On the Senate side, Republicans have only eight seats at risk, while Democrats have 25 - ten of which represent states where Donald Trump won in 2016.

Of particular concern to the CLF are ads and protests from the left and progressive groups targeting Republicans for their efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare.

Democrats already have a spate of candidates running for the seat, including: Gil Cisneros, a veteran, lottery victor and philanthropist who is self-financing his campaign; Andy Thorburn, a health insurance executive who is also self-financing; and Mai Khanh Tran, a Vietnamese immigrant and pediatrician. He still has $1.9 million on hand.

Democratic candidate Gil Cisneros raised $732,000 and had $486,000 on hand.

Last week, Trump nominated Royce's wife, Marie Royce, to be assistant secretary of state for educational and cultural affairs at the State Department.

Reporters have been asking Royce for months if he's running for reelection.

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