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California’s Paul Cook joins parade of House Republicans retiring

Cook will run for the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors

Rep. Paul Cook, R-Calif., is retiring from Congress. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Four-term California Rep. Paul Cook is retiring from Congress to run for county office instead, continuing the stream of House Republicans heading toward the exit.

Cook’s chief of staff, John Sobel, told the Los Angeles Times that the congressman plans to run for the San Bernadino County Board of Supervisors. Sobel did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Cook is the 13th House GOP lawmaker so far to announce his or her retirement. Like several other retiring colleagues, serving in the minority has been a new experience for Cook. He was first elected in 2012 after serving in the California State Assembly. 

President Donald Trump carried Cook’s 8th District, which includes most of San Bernadino County, by 15 points in 2016, and the congressman won reelection last fall by 20 points. Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the 8th District race Solid Republican

Cook wasted no time endorsing a successor. California Assemblyman Jay Obernolte listed Cook among his endorsements on his campaign website, which the Republican launched moments after the news of Cook’s retirement broke. Obernolte’s campaign site notes that his Assembly district overlaps with 65 percent of the 8th District.

Cook is a retired Marine Corps colonel and earned two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star for his service during the Vietnam War. He is a member of the House Armed Services and Natural Resources committees.  

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