A wave of retirements has hit the Republican caucus in the House of Representatives this year. I just the past two weeks, five Republicans have announced their plan to retire from Congress. Some are in safe Republican seats but open seats could give Democrats the opportunity to take another seat in a year where President Donald Trump isn't the most popular candidate.
Politico noted one of the people announcing he's out is from the GOP leadership team. It adds to Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN), who chairs recruitment for the GOP.
“Will there be more retirements? Most certainly there will be, for a range of reasons,” said Rep. Paul Mitchell (R-MI.), who announced his own retirement last week.
The reality is that being in the minority isn't fun. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) isn't making things any easier. While Republicans have voted for and against bills, nothing will make it to the floor of the Senate. So, it lumps House Republicans into the "do nothing" label.
"Around two-thirds of the GOP conference has never served in the minority, where Republicans have had to turn over control of the House floor, give up plush office spaces, slash their committee budgets and lose other perks," Politico reported.
Fighting tooth and nail to get back into power, isn't exactly something some House Republicans are interested in doing. In 2018, Republicans lost the suburban women vote, ushering in many new Democratic members, particularly women of color. It likely makes candidate recruitment difficult when the leader of their party routinely attacks people of color.
“It is demoralizing to watch the gridlock that happens,” Mitchell said. “Absolutely demoralizing.”
These retirements are likely just the tip of the ice berg.
“A lot of our members recognize it’s a challenging cycle,” a senior GOP aide confessed to Politico. “I would be shocked if we don’t have more retirements.”
At the same time, the Republican Party has mandated term limits for committee chairs. So for members who are not only in the minority, they're also out of the spotlight, the position isn't worth the work.
Republicans also say the GOP’s self-imposed term limits for committee chairs could be fueling some of the retirements. The party implemented rules that limit committee leaders to three consecutive terms, which some worry encourages lawmakers to jump ship once their terms are up. Conaway and Bishop, for example, are both approaching the end of their tenures on their respective committees.