While the 2020 election is still more than a year away, a number of House Republicans —just months into their current term—have announced they will not be seeking reelection.
With his Monday announcement, Rep. Rob Bishop of Utah became the latest Republican member of the House to announce he will not run in 2020. Bishop joins three others who have declared similar intentions in the past two weeks alone: five-term Rep. Martha Roby of Alabama, six-term Rep. Pete Olson of Texas, and two-term Rep. Paul Mitchell of Michigan.
There are now a total of eight Republicans who are retiring in 2020, including Rep. Susan Brooks of Indiana and Rep. Rob Woodall of Georgia. Rep. Tom Marino also resigned from his post in January—just two weeks after being sworn in. (He was replaced by another Republican in a special election, Rep. Fred Keller.)
There are also the Republican members of the House who are seeking other offices instead: Rep. Bradley Byrne of Alabama, who is planning to run for a Senate seat, and Rep. Greg Gianforte of Montana, who is entering the race for governor in his home state. If confirmed as director of national intelligence, that number will reach three with Rep. John Ratcliffe. Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming is also reportedly considering a run for Senate. And Rep. Justin Amash’s decision to leave the Republican Party brings the number up even further.
While in some cases the seats of the departing members are solidly Republican, others could potentially sway Democrat—which doesn’t bode well for the already underrepresented Grand Old Party in the House. What’s more, just three Democrats have announced their retirement from the House thus far: Rep. Jose Serrano, Rep. Dave Loebsack, and Rep. Ben Ray Lujan.
The departure of Roby and Brooks is also particularly concerning for the Republican Party, as the number of Republican women serving in the House will drop to just 11—compared to 89 female Democrats.
The announcements, while early, are by no means uncommon. People decide not to seek re-election every cycle—the main difference is that Republicans appear to be doing so in greater numbers than Democrats in the House in recent years. Thirty-four Republicans—compared to 18 Democrats—chose not to run again for their House seats in 2018, contributing to the majority changing hands from the former to the latter. 20 Republicans did not seek re-election in 2016, compared to eight Democrats. That figure reached 25 for Republicans in 2014 and 16 for Democrats.
It is too soon to predict what the outcome of the 2020 Congressional elections will be, but if past elections are any indicator, there’s a fair chance that Democrats could increase their majority.
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