Orange County congressman Ed Royce (R-Fullerton), who easily won a 13th term in November 2016, announced he'll be retiring rather than face voters in a district that Hillary Clinton had carried.
Even before Monday's announcement, Democrats were already targeting Royce's seat, and almost a half-dozen serious candidates had lined up to challenge him.
“In this final year of my Foreign Affairs Committee chairmanship, I want to focus fully on the urgent threats facing our nation," Royce said in a statement. "With this in mind, and with the support of my wife Marie, I have decided not to seek re-election in November.”
Royce has been in Congress since 1993 and was re-elected in November 2016 by 15 percentage points, but the district is changing, along with the rest of Orange County.
"The demographics of Orange County are changing in a way that makes Democrats smile," said Claremont McKenna political science professor Jack Pitney. "A very large and growing Asian population, a large and growing Latino population. Republicans are going to have a very hard time holding onto seats in this county, both in Congress and the state Legislature."