A Republican congressman in California said Tuesday he won't run for re-election next year, making him the 18th GOP incumbent to bow out of the US House of Representatives now that the party is in the minority, the AP reports. US Rep. Paul Cook announced he will instead run for a seat on the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors in 2020. California has 53 US House seats, the most of any state. Its Republican congressional delegation was cut in half during the 2018 midterms, leaving the party with just seven of those seats. Cook's job in California's 8th Congressional District east of Los Angeles likely would have been safe had he wanted it. President Trump won more than 54% of the vote in the district in 2016. And in a state where the top two vote-getters advance to the general election, the 8th District was the only one in 2018 to have two Republicans pitted against each other.
However, local government jobs in California are bigger than in most states. San Bernardino County has more than 2 million people, making it one of the largest counties in the country. In a news release, Cook hinted at frustrations with the bureaucracy in Washington. "As a supervisor, I'll work to carry out the will of my constituents, while fighting the bureaucracies in Sacramento and Washington, DC, that seek to overrun rural communities like ours," Cook said. Republican state Assemblyman Jay Obernolte has already announced his candidacy to replace Cook, launching a campaign website on Tuesday that includes an endorsement from Cook. Cook is the 18th House Republican this year to say they won't seek re-election in 2020 or are resigning from office, a large number that's expected to grow. Just four House Democrats have so far announced they're leaving.
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