Just this week, two Republican members of Congress, Dave Reichert of Washington and Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania, made announcements that they will be retiring from the House of Representatives. Also, Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) announced in October that he will not seek reelection. This appears to be a continuing pattern for the GOP not even a year into the Trump presidency.
On Tuesday, Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) announced that he will not run for reelection, making him the third GOP lawmaker this week from Texas to announce their retirement. The others were Representatives Lamar Smith and Jeb Hensarling. Two of those announcements come after Sunday’s horrific church shooting, when 26 year-old Devin Kelley opened fire on the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas, killing 26 people.
Rep. Poe announced his retirement via Twitter, saying:
‘Today, I am announcing that I will not seek reelection to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2018.
‘I am grateful for the honor and privilege to represent the best people in America, Texas’s Second Congressional District.’
People shared a mix of feelings on Twitter about Poe’s retirement announcement:
Poe has become well-known in the House for ending every speech with the words:
‘And that’s just the way it is.’
He even ended his retirement announcement by saying:
‘I will continue this work every day until I retire at the end of this term. And that’s just the way it is.’
One other Texas Republican, Sam Johnson, also announced earlier this year that he would not seek reelection.
It doesn’t seem as though Poe is retiring out of a fear that he would lose the seat in 2018, considering President Trump carried the Houston-area district by ten points last year.
Poe was the second house Republican to announce his retirement on Tuesday. The other was Rep. Frank Lobiondo (R-NJ) announced that he will not seek reelection in 2018 either. This all comes as the GOP is planning to vote on tax reform, which could happen as early as next week.
President Trump only won Lobiondo’s district by four points over Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, which would have made it a tougher, more competitive election, if he had decided to run again. Tennessee Republican Senator Bob Corker (R) also announced back in September that he would not run for reelection in 2018.
It will be interesting to see what happens to the Republican seats that are now up for grabs. Many people cling to hope that Democrats can clinch the elections to win back the House, but it’s definitely an uphill battle. Bruni writes in The New York Times:
‘But what’s the spread for Democrats in 2018?
‘Is the spread – which means predicted margin of victory or defeat – gaining the 24 seats in The House that are necessary for a majority in the chamber? That’s certainly doable. I could argue that it’s probable.’
However, Bruni then continues saying:
‘But I could also make the case that Democrats fall 5, 10, or 15 seats short.’
He goes on to explain that the midterm elections present a great opportunity for the Democrats, but also a curse at the same time. If they don’t regain control of Congress, it could doom them for the 2020 election. He ends with this:
‘And it’s irresponsible not to think in terms of 2020 as well as 2018. Nothing about Trump’s first term makes a second seem survivable, let alone advisable, so the best way to go into the midterms is with an eye toward preventing one.’
Watch this clip from CBS This Morning.
Featured image by Alex Wong/Getty Images