According to the Los Angeles Times, the CLF launched four additional offices in California in 2017 to defend Representatives Mimi Walters Jeff Denham, David Valadao, Steve Knight, and Ed Royce, who serves as chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Royce, who has represented his Orange County congressional district since 1993, is serving his past year as head of the influential committee under the term limits for chairmanships adopted by the House Republican caucus. He said he would spend his final year as chairman fully focused on the "urgent threats facing our nation".
Royce has seen his advantage in the district to less than two points in 2016, and he is up against his term limit on his committee chairmanship, so the retirement makes some sense, especially given the political climate that is strongly favoring Democrats in the midterm election.
"With this in mind, and with the support of my wife Marie, I have decided not to seek reelection in November", Royce said.
Royce, R-Calif., first elected in 1992, is one of eight House Republican chairmen who have announced they will forego a re-election campaign for the House ahead of the midterm elections.
"It wasn't a re-election problem, that's for sure", said Republican National Committeeman Shawn Steel, who called Royce's announcement "a shocker".
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"Facing strong, well-funded Democratic challengers, a historic investment in Orange County by the DCCC and a failed Republican agenda of raising taxes on working families and trying to rip health care away from millions of California, Congressman Ed Royce's retirement is another sign of Democrats' growing momentum in 2018", said DCCC spokesman Drew Godinich.
The announcement means Royce's chairmanship of the powerful committee will end when his current congressional term expires at the end of 2018.
Trump lost the state in 2016 by more than 4 million votes and Clinton carried Orange County, once a Republican fortress, by almost 9 percentage points. Democrats need a net gain of 24 seats to win the majority. "In recent years, we've made a real difference", he said.
But Republicans argue that the 2016 results do not indicate a shift in the district's GOP-leaning. We have just one message for Democrats who think they can compete for this seat: "bring it on". Dana Rohrabacher in California's 48th District but could move to Royce's now-open Orange County seat.
Royce's announcement came just a few days after Rep. Gregg Harper of MS, the Republican chairman of the House Administration Committee, announced his retirement.