Throughout American election history, it has been seen that the sitting administration has a fairly influential impact on midterm elections. A well-liked president can throw his support to incumbents and candidates in his own party, and generally speaking, will spark a much needed boost in vital elections races. However, as the American public has seen for themselves in the last year and a half, President Donald Trump is far unlike any of his other predecessors, and unfortunately for the GOP, not in a positive way.
The Republican party has suffered severely under the current administration, as President Trump has created a deep-seated rift between GOP members, leading to a sharp loss in credibility. While some Republican lawmakers continue to support the president regardless of his unpopular and divisive policies, others have chosen to stand up and speak out against the proposals that threaten American values. The result, however, has only depicted the inherent instability and conflicts within the party, as the GOP’s popularity steadily declines on a near-daily basis.
With Republicans attempting to soften these blows ahead of the midterm elections, an unusually high number of House GOP lawmakers have already made the decision to step aside during these tumultuous times. With nearly all major special election victories having gone in favor of the Democrats over the last year, some of which were in Trump-won territories in the 2016 presidential cycle, a resounding 44 House Republicans have announced that they will either be retiring at the end of their terms, or will not be seeking re-election in the upcoming elections.
The latest GOP incumbent that has decided against running for re-election is Virginia Representative Thomas Garrett (R-VA), who has not only sent mixed messages about his political future, but furthermore has had his office come under controversy in recent days. According to an article by the Washington Post:
‘Rep. Thomas Garrett (R-Va.) announced Monday that he is struggling with alcoholism and will abandon his run for a second term in Congress so he can focus on recovery and his family.
The former Virginia state senator was facing a robust challenge from his Democratic challenger, journalist and author Leslie Cockburn, who had raised more money and had more cash on hand than he had. In recent days, unnamed former staffers had accused him and his wife of mistreating staff who worked in his congressional office.’
Rep. Thomas Garrett (R-Va.) says he's an alcoholic and won't seek reelection. He's the 44th Republican expected to leave the House. https://t.co/LYzrrca3RA
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) May 28, 2018
Not to downplay the courage Garrett portrayed in coming forward publicly regarding the very real struggles of alcoholism, it is difficult to disregard the timing of his latest resignation announcement, especially considering one of his previous statements. At a press conference just last Thursday, Garrett reassured everyone that he would be, without a doubt, running for re-election in the upcoming midterms. The statement, which came off as outright rambling, attempted to alleviate the controversies emerging from within his office, while reciting exaggerated and irrelevant anecdotes to seemingly justify his re-election bid.
If Rep. Thomas Garrett (R-Va.) is an alcoholic, I hope he gets help. But was it his alcohol addiction that caused him to mistreat his staff by forcing them to walk his dog, clean up the dog poop and pick up his groceries? https://t.co/8nMPkIW0ZA
— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) May 28, 2018
Freedom Caucus member quits first term citing alcoholism — while facing allegations he made staff pick up his dog's poop
— Michael O'Grady (@mog7546) May 28, 2018
Whether Garrett’s decision to step down was ultimately a result of his realization that alcoholism was hindering his abilities, or if the timing seemed ideal to do what many of his GOP colleagues have already done, the fact is that the Republican party seems to be in for a major wakeup call come November.
I wish him the best in his recovery.
"Rep. Thomas Garrett (R-Va.) announced Monday that he is struggling with alcoholism and will abandon his run for a second term… https://t.co/HsduyJMGbn
— Michele (@my_dys) May 28, 2018
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