During the 2018 mid-terms a number of Republican congresspeople retired rather than facing an election for their seat. The Democrats were aided by these decisions in a big way as they went on to have a wave election. A total of 41 seats were flipped from Republican to Democrats.
When the 2020 elections come around, the GOP may again be playing defense against Democratic candidates. Alabama’s Martha Roby became the 3rd GOP congressperson to announce their retirement in the last week.
Roby has voted solidly with Republicans and her seat would be a very difficult one for Democrats to win. She made news in 2016 when she withdrew her support from Donald Trump due to the Access Hollywood tape. She said at the time, “Donald Trump’s behavior makes him unacceptable as a candidate for president, and I won’t vote for him.”
Donald Trump's behavior makes him unacceptable as a candidate for president, and I won't vote for him.
Full statement: pic.twitter.com/Ge7GU1TSvm
— Martha Roby (@MarthaRobyAL) October 8, 2016
While Roby’s seat is expected to stay red, the two other retirements from this week could loom large for the blue side.
Texas Congressman Pete Olson announced he would not seek reelection in 2020. Olson made waves a few weeks ago as one of the few Republican lawmakers to denounce Trump’s squad comments. His district, Texas’s 22nd, was thought to be a Democratic target even before his retirement. In his last race, Olson only by 5% points.
Michigan’s Paul Mitchell also decided to retire this week after only 2 years in Congress. He is from a conservative district, but Michigan is tilting blue. Mitchell said of the decision, “You look at the rhetoric and the vitriol, it overwhelms policy, politics becomes the norm. Everything’s about politics. Everything’s about an election. And at some point of time, that’s not why I came here.”
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Todd Neikirk is a New Jersey-based politics and technology writer. His work has been featured in psfk.com, foxsports.com, and PoliticusUSA. An avid pet lover, he has been known to contribute to Pet Lifestyles Magazine. He enjoys sports, politics, technology, and spending time at the shore with his family.