GOP Congressman Announces Retirement Plan As Party Collapses

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Rep. Steve Stivers (R-Ohio), who has represented a Columbus, Ohio-area district for about a decade, announced this Monday that he will be retiring from Congress in May and moving into a position as president and CEO of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce. Stivers has been a prominent House Republican — for the first two years of Donald Trump’s term, he led the National Republican Congressional Committee, an official Republican Party apparatus that works on House races. (Like Democrats, Republicans have a corresponding party committee for Senate races.)

On Twitter, Stivers commented as follows:

‘For the past decade, it has been my honor and privilege to serve the people of Ohio’s 15th Congressional District. Throughout my career, I’ve worked to promote policies that drive our economy forward, get folks to work, and put our fiscal house in order. I’m excited to announce that I will be taking on a new opportunity that allows me to continue to do that. Effective May 16, I will be leaving Congress in order to accept the position of President and CEO of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce.’

Stivers’s district is solidly Republican, but his exit from elected office does have ripple effects on the looming race to replace Ohio Republican Senator Rob Portman, who is not running for re-election.

Although Trump won Ohio by a solid margin in 2020, the state isn’t a haven for Republican victories alone. Ohio’s other Senator, Sherrod Brown, is already a Democrat, so there’s clearly a chance for statewide Democratic success, and losing a highly recognized potential nominee via Stivers’s departure from government could negatively impact Republican chances of victory in the impending race to replace Portman. Although Stivers hadn’t announced plans to run for Senate, he could’ve.

Elsewhere in the country, Republicans might be more on edge about their chances in locales like Pennsylvania, where Republican Senator Pat Toomey has announced his retirement. Unlike Ohio, Biden won Pennsylvania this past November, and the state’s governor and other Senator are Democrats. The era of Republican occupancy of Toomey’s seat (he’s been in office for about a decade) could be drawing to a close.