Ed Royce, the chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and a veteran Republican Congressman from the state of California, anounced on Monday that he will retire from Congress at the end of 2018, and not seek re-election. His seat is seen as a key to Democratic efforts to win back control of the House of Representatives.
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Royce is joining a growing list of senior Republican legislators who have made such announcements in recent months, which also includes the head of the Senate's Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Bob Corker (R-TN). Royce was considered a staunch supporter of Israels government and said in his statement on Monday that one of the issues he wants to focus on during his last year in office, is Iran's threat to the United State and its neighbors in the Middle East.
Royce won his district, CA-39, by 14 points in 2016 - running 22 points ahead of President Trump within its boundaries. Hillary Clinton won the district in the Presidential contest, receiving just over 51% of the vote. This makes the district a prime target for Democrats in the 2018 mid-term elections.
His announcement came the same day that Trump sent to the U.S. Senate his nomination of Royce's wife, Marie, as an assistant secretary in the U.S. State Department, which is overseen by the foreign affairs panel.