“You know, I’m having a really superb night,” California GOP Rep. Darrell Issa acknowledged late Tuesday, after it became apparent Republicans would win back control of the Senate.
Speaking to The Daily Caller by phone, the outgoing chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee said the GOP victories mean the new Republican Congress will have a mandate to push their agenda.
“In a nutshell, and I’ll sound a little bit like George Will, they didn’t vote Republicans in tonight,” Issa said of the country. “They voted the president out. And that means that we have a mandate to pass sensible legislation.”
“Many of the pieces of legislation that we already passed out of the House with bipartisan support from the Democrats, those kinds of pieces of legislation, I think, are great examples,” he said of agenda items for the Senate to vote on.
Issa, who earned national exposure as the face of Republican investigations into Obama administration scandals, said he would like to see the Senate take up legislation on everything from Iran to the Keystone pipeline to federal IT reform. “There are glaring mistakes that have happened in this administration that need to be corrected,” he said.
Offering an explanation for why a number of incumbent Democratic senators lost Tuesday, Issa said: “I think it is very much an example where even when people didn’t want to be seen with the president, they were still seen as being with the president.”
Asked the biggest surprise of the night, the California Republican noted that the polls underestimated GOP candidates.
“I think what I saw tonight was in every race, people are performing better than the polls indicated,” he said. “And that’s a not a recrimination of pollsters. It’s a recognition that the pollsters couldn’t really measure this organic intensity that was coming from voters who were saying, ‘we’ve had enough of the gridlock caused by President Obama, this is what we can do to change that.'”
Facing a term limit as Oversight Committee chairman, Issa said he will have more time to work on other pet issues and do some campaigning in the 2016 cycle. For now, he’s trying to decide what committees he will serve on in the next Congress.
He said he could end up chairing the intellectual property subcommittee of the Judiciary Committee. He also said it’s possible he could end up on the Foreign Affairs Committee or the Energy and Commerce Committee.
“So I have a lot of offers, and quite frankly, I’m going to have to pick between a lot of very exciting opportunities,” he said.
Issa also expressed an interest to playing a role in supporting a Republican candidate for president in 2016.
“Obviously I’m going to look at the field,” he said. “I know a number of the candidates that are likely. I’ve worked with Scott Walker, I’ve worked a little bit with Jeb Bush, I’ve worked extensively over the years with John Kasich. I’m looking at a lot of candidates that are looking at it.”
Added Issa: “As they start going around, I plan on being involved in helping getting a Republican president elected and help pick from a field the best person for that.”