Donald Trump greets Rep. Duncan Hunter (left) and Rep. Darrell Issa at San Diego rally.
Donald Trump greets Rep. Duncan Hunter (left) and Rep. Darrell Issa at a San Diego campaign rally in 2016. Photo by Chris Stone

Former North County congressman Darell Issa is reportedly considering a return to Congress if embattled Rep. Duncan Hunter resigns or decides not to run., a Washington,DC-based political website, cited sources on the House Oversight Committee, which Issa once chaired.

Issa, a Republican, left Congress in January after deciding not to run for re-election in the 49th District. The website said Issa is closely monitoring the federal case against Hunter, who is accused of diverting campaign funds for personal use.

Hunter’s wife, Margaret, recently pleaded guilty, which may allow her to testify against her husband and increase the possibility of his conviction.

President Trump nominated Issa to lead the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, but that appointment has been stalled for months.

Issa lives in Vista, which is in the 49th District on the edge of the sprawling 50th District, which Hunter represents. However, members of Congress are not required to live in the districts they represent.

Ammar Campa-Najjar, Hunter’s Democratic rival in 2018 who is seeking the seat in 2020, said in a statement: “Please run, please. Imagine two Arab Americans running against each other in CA50?”

But he said: “It’s hard to imagine the people of this district wanting to trade one ethically challenged congressman for another who isn’t even from here.”

He said local voters want to put corruption and partisan politics behind them “and lead us into the future — and when you think about the future, the last name that comes to mind is Darrell Issa.”

He concluded with an Arab endearment for males: “Bring it on, habibi.”

Updated at 2:10 p.m. June 21, 2019

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.