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Issa Says He's Not Worried About Trump Factor In Re-Election Bid

U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa talks about his continued support for Donald Trump in San Diego, Sept. 1, 2016.
Katie Schoolov
U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa talks about his continued support for Donald Trump in San Diego, Sept. 1, 2016.

Issa Says He's Not Worried About Trump Factor In Re-Election Bid
Issa Says He's Not Worried About Trump Factor In Re-Election Bid GUEST:Darrell Issa, Congressman, R-Vista

Our top story on KPBS Midday Edition, a new poll released shows San Diego Congressman Darrell Issa holding in narrow lead over his unknown challenger Doug Applegate. The figures raise questions over whether voters are reacting to Darrell Issa 's support for Donald Trump. Steve Walsh caught up with the Congressman outside the gates of the NASSCO shipyard where he was taking part in a congressional tour of San Diego County's defense facilities. There's a whole lot that are saying you are ahead, it's a smaller margin than typically. What's going on? Four years ago the voters gave me nine points greater than Mitt Romney. In this first round, I did 11 points better. People in the district understand. They vote for president and they then come down and look for who will represent the district. My expectation is that I will do fine in the general. If people understand I have served the community, all the community, very well both in legislation and doing the job that Congress requires. Do think Donald Trump is pulling the numbers down? I think there's a disconnect and there should be. I've held both Republican and Democratic pot -- presidents accountable. I hold the administration accountable. The judiciary committee deals with the important issues of the Constitution. I think my work with the courts speaks for itself. You have also, originally you are a Marco Rubio's -- Rubio supporter. You have switched your support and no support Donald Trump. Do you think that is hurting your numbers? When Donald Trump became the nominee I endorsed him. He had the veterans event here, I came. There was a huge turnout from the veterans community. That's an important community here in San Diego. I have worked hard for it. I did support Marco Rubio. In September, we are marking up and immigration reform bill, that has bipartisan support. Sylvan Davis and Scott peters are both on by Bill. I believe there is a lot we can do to gather including immigration reform and that's what I've been working on. I have to commend Marco Rubio. He took some blows for it, if you will. He's been committed to getting things done and so my. Did you hear the speech last night? What did you think? Did they mirror your own views? I was involved with this group last night. I understand it was a good speech. I know the nominee was meeting with the Mexican president, that's another branch of government. I think the voters understand that federal judges are appointed for life and we want them to be non-partial. The executive branch comes in, but Congress has to look at the first strings in the civil rights of our people and do its job. I've always said I Congressman to do a Congressman's job. Sounds like you are putting distance between yourself and Reporter:? I was never he -- going to vote for Hillary Clinton. I have no doubt that I will vote for somebody other than her. Donald Trump is the only viable alternative to a very flawed candidate. Hillary Clinton has done things wrong. The FBI director made it clear, her -- for her convenience she endangered national security. That concerns me. I'm not putting distance. I knew I would campaign for somebody I believed in. I also knew I would vote for one of the 17 people up on that gas -- Deus. The notion that we have dangerous immigrants, they are here and legal -- As I told you I did not watch the speech. I don't want to comment on a hypothetical. I'm working on a bipartisan basis. We have immigration reform that I have been working on. We will markup bills including one that has been authored by myself and Scott Davis. I represent a district. I did that under President Clinton and President Bush and now under President Obama. My record speaks for itself I have been inclusive and willing to cross the aisle and pass lots of meaningful legislation. That's what I will do if they return me. Donald Trump's view of NAFTA, does that share your view? I testified as a small business person, free trade has been good for America. Do we need to have good deals? Of course. We have a trade surplus with those countries. When you look at our deficit with China or other countries, you are looking at places we don't have free trade agreements. I make no bones about it. I will look at every free trade agreement. I believe in free and fair trade and I believe we can have deals that are good for America. That was Steve Walsh talking with Congressman Darrell Issa .

Congressman Darrell Issa, R-Vista, said he is not concerned about his own re-election, despite numbers that show his race is tightening for the first time in his congressional career.

A new poll released this week by Strategies 360 shows Issa holds a narrow lead over his relatively unknown Democratic challenger for the 49th Congressional District, retired Marine Col. Doug Applegate. The poll was commissioned by Applegate's campaign, but the numbers have drawn national speculation over whether voters are reacting to Issa’s support for GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump.

“I think there is a disconnect between the top of the ticket and my district, and there should be,” Issa said. “I’ve held both Democrats and Republicans accountable.”

RELATED: Primary Surprise: Did Issa’s Support For Trump Hurt His Campaign

Issa appeared at the Trump rally at the convention center in San Diego back in May. It was after his first choice, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, dropped out of the race. Despite Trump’s weak showing in heavily blue California, Issa said he’s not pulling back on his support.

A construction crane overlooks the main headquarters for General Dynamics NASSCO in San Diego.
Katie Schoolov
A construction crane overlooks the main headquarters for General Dynamics NASSCO in San Diego.

“I’m not putting any distance,” Issa said. “I always knew I would campaign for someone I believed in — that was Marco Rubio. I also knew I would vote for one of the 17 people on the dais.”

Issa is best known from his time heading the House Oversight and Government Reform committees, where he held the initial hearings on Benghazi and the failed gun sting, Fast and Furious. These days Issa is talking about working on immigration reform and touting his support for the North American Free Trade Agreement, which Trump has continued to criticize during a trip to Mexico this week.

The congressman spoke Thursday morning outside the NASSCO shipyard, where he was part of a bi-partisan congressional tour of San Diego County’s defense facilities.

The 49th Congressional District includes Del Mar, Solana Beach, Encinitas, Carlsbad, Oceanside, Vista and San Clemente.