Taylor said the fire was an "unfortunate occurrence -- Congressman Issa had nothing to do with it." He said money Issa received in an out-of-court settlement with his insurance company, which had contested the claim, was "not nearly enough to cover what was actually lost."
After losing to Fong, Issa said, he became ill. But he regrouped in a way that may pay him dividends among the Republicans he is courting for the recall. "After Darrell Issa's loss to Matt Fong, he was the picture of class and grace. He did everything he possible could to help Matt Fong in the general election," said Steve Schmidt, a Washington-based Republican consultant who worked for Fong. "There are no doubt a lot of Republicans in California who remember that. Darrell has paid his dues."
Issa ran and won his congressional seat two years later, becoming one of only a handful of Arab Americans on Capitol Hill. Since then, he has hewed closely to Republican orthodoxy, supporting military action in Afghanistan and Iraq and backing President Bush's tax cuts.