Rep. Darrell Issa Heads to New Hampshire

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Saturday, 11 Jan 2014 11:06 AM

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House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa heads to New Hampshire next month – a longstanding magnet for potential presidential hopefuls, The San Diego Union-Tribune reports.

The California Republican will deliver the keynote speech at a Lincoln Day Dinner Feb. 17 before the Concord Republican City and Merrimack County committees, the newspaper said.

But Kurt Bardella, a former Issa staffer whose firm, Endeavor Strategic Communications, handles Issa’s political communications, said the speaking date doesn’t mean Issa is testing the presidential candidate waters.

“There is a broader conversation that has been going on and that the congressman has been a part of,” said Bardella. “Regardless of who the nominee is in 2016, the key is to have this conversation and for Mr. Issa to be a key part of it going forward.”

Issa said two issues will define the midterm and presidential elections.

“The first is whether or not the Republican Party can define itself as the party that scupports individual opportunity and American entrepreneurship so that you can be the engine of your own prosperity, not government,” he said in a statement.

“The second comes down to how comfortable the American people are with a large, indvasive and powerful government that escapes accountability with no check-and-balance.”

Still, Claremont McKenna College political scientist Jack Pitney told the Union Tribune Issa has long been interested in higher office.

“It doesn’t hurt to accept the invitation and occasionally test the water,” Pitney said. “Ambition is like water — it is always looking for an outlet and he is probably not going there for the weather.”

The lawmaker has filed for re-election to his House seat, and has more than $2.6 million in his campaign account, the newspaper said.

A number of possible GOP 2016 contenders have made visits to New Hampshire in recent months, including Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.

It may be Issa’s “prolific” fundraising abilities that landed him the speaking engagement, The Daily Caller said. It quoted an unnamed source saying the lawmaker “gets a lot of requests to speak at dinners and do events around the country.”

Last year, Issa appeared at events in Pennsylvania for two fellow House members, Reps. Scott Perry and Bill Shuster, the Daily Caller reported

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