- Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call
- Nine house Republicans have said they plan to retire since the start of the year, as party strategists become increasingly apprehensive about the possibility of a GOP House takeover in 2020.
- Most recently, Republican Rep. Will Hurd of Texas, the only black Republican in the House of Representatives, abruptly announced his retirement on Thursday.
- Many in the GOP anticipate more retirements heading into the next year.
- Visit Business Insider’s home page for more stories.
Republican Rep. Will Hurd of Texas, the only black Republican in the House of Representatives, is the latest GOP lawmaker to announce his retirement from Congress, one of a growing number as party strategists become increasingly apprehensive about the possibility of a Republican House takeover in 2020.
Over the past few weeks, prior to Hurd’s abrupt announcement, five Republicans also said they would not seek reelection in 2020, including two other House Republicans from Texas. In total, since the start of the year, nine House Republicans have said they plan to retire.
“Will there be more retirements? Most certainly there will be, for a range of reasons,” Republican Rep. Paul Mitchell of Michigan, who said last week he won’t be seeking reelection, told POLITICO. In a Thursday statement following his announcement, Hurd said “two centuries ago, I would have been counted as three-firths of a person, and today, I can say I’ve had the honor of serving three terms in Congress.”
“I will keep fighting to remind people why I love America: that we are neither Republican nor Democrat nor Independent,” he added. “We are better than the sum of our parts.”
Per the Cook Political Report, Hurd’s retirement moves his district, which includes large swaths of land along the Southwestern border, from the “toss-up” category to “Lean Democratic.” While most of the districts where Republicans have announced retirements are reliably red, districts represented by retiring reps Susan Brooks in Indiana, Pete Olson in Texas, and Rob Woodall in Georgia face the possibility of moving blue in the next election cycle.
According to a FiveThirtyEight analysis, Republicans currently have a 40% chance of winning Congress next year, compared to 46.1% for Democrats.
“Unfortunately, I am afraid there may be more [retirements] coming,” Sarah Chamberlain, president and CEO of the Republican Main Street Partnership, told POLITICO.
“Between people finding themselves having to actually work hard for the first time in their long, lazy careers and members who came in in the majority and now hate life in the minority, it’s just getting started,” said one consultant who works for House Republicans, in an interview with The Hill.
Other Republicans, many of whom spoke anonymously to the Associated Press, said that the Executive Office may play a looming role in the departures. “The White House isn’t helping the atmosphere up to this point for these guys. They’re having to answer every day for things they didn’t say or do,” said former Rep. Tom Davis of Virginia. “That’s not a good place to be.”
“Serving in the era of Trump has few rewards. He has made an already hostile political environment worse. Every day there is some indefensible tweet or comment to defend or explain. It is exhausting and often embarrassing,” a member of Congress anonymously told The Hill, noting that, even if Republicans did win back the majority, “our edge would be narrow which means we would live under the tyranny of the Freedom Caucus. Frankly I wonder if this conference is capable of governing.”
But, not all in the party are concerned. Michael McAdams, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee, told the Associated Press the retirements are “what happens this time of year.”
“[Republicans are] in a prime position to pick up seats and recapture the majority,” he said.
In 2018, a total of 26 Republicans and eight Democrats opted not to run for re-election.
- Read more:
- House Republicans plan to hold one of their biggest annual meetings in Baltimore, a city which Trump says is ‘dangerous’ and ‘filthy’
- Over one-third of Democratic primary voters said they feared foreign hacking could cost them the 2020 election
- The 2020 Democratic primary is filled with very good cats and dogs