The announcement comes one day after Republican actor Arnold Schwarzenegger declared his candidacy. Issa, one of the first to announce his candidacy for the governorship, said he had to choose between the desire to help his home state and his responsibilities in Congress.
“I was elected to work on issues of national importance,” an emotional Issa said outside the Registrar of Voters office in San Diego. “It is my desire to see that the recall continues to see Gray Davis recalled and see California have a brighter day.”
Issa, who is of Lebanese descent, added he had dropped out of the campaign in order to continue to work on President Bush’s Middle East Peace initiative and fulfill his duties in the House of Representatives.
“When you have to choose between a job that you know others can do and between a job that you feel you have a calling to do it is very tough,” Issa said.
Issa said that his work in Congress was “a higher obligation.” He serves on the House Energy and Commerce Committee and various subcommittees.
The congressman said he and his wife would continue to support and fund the recall effort and urged his supporters to continue working on ousting Davis.
“My only hope today is that when this is over we can put our state back together,” he said.
Issa said he had wanted to wait until he was sure that candidates who shared his vision for California had entered the race. He emphasized his hope for the fiscal health of the state and a vibrant economy. Issa said that there are sufficient candidates who share those goals, without citing or endorsing a particular candidate.
“It had nothing to do with Schwarzenegger’s decision other than that I needed to know that there were strong candidates who were going to file,” he said.
Issa said that he had received assurances that a sufficient number of qualified candidates would enter the race.