It looks like the prospect of being on the same ballot as Trump is pushing Republicans to opt to retire rather than run again in 2020. On Monday, Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT) became the fourth Republican in less than a week to announce his retirement.
Bishop will leave Congress after serving eight terms. He currently serves as the highest-ranking Republican on the House Natural Resources Committee. Over the past several years, Bishop’s votes aligned with Trump more than 96 percent of the time, according to FiveThirtyEight.
Another departure is on the way soon: Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX). Ratcliffe, a devout Trump loyalist, was tapped by Trump to replace the retiring Dan Coats as the director of national intelligence. If confirmed, Ratcliffe will be forced to resign his House seat, which he has held since 2015.
The cascading retirement announcements started on Wednesday with Rep. Paul Mitchell of Michigan, a two-term Republican. The following day, Rep. Ted Olson, a Republican representing the Houston suburbs, announced his retirement. Olson faced the prospect of defending a district that was steadily becoming less friendly to Republicans over the past several elections.
Last week wrapped up with Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL) announcing her retirement on Friday. Roby is the second of just 13 Republican women in the House to call it quits rather than run again.
Bishop became the fourth Republican in four consecutive weekdays to announce his retirement, but these four are not alone in declining to run again.
Two weeks after being sworn in in January, Rep. Tom Marino (R-PA) announced he was leaving Congress. Then, in February, barely a month after the new Congress started, Rep. Rob Woodall (R-GA) announced he would not be seeking reelection after barely winning by a mere 400 votes in 2018.
Republicans spent 2011 through 2018 as the majority in the House before the 2018 midterm election returned the GOP to minority status and elevated Nancy Pelosi to House speaker.
Trump continues to be unpopular across the country, and Republican lawmakers know they will have to appear on a ballot with him if they run again in 2020. Trump’s name wasn’t even on the ballot in 2018, and the Republican majority was decimated.
Bishop is the latest Republican to call it quits, but if history is any indication, he won’t be the last. In the last election cycle, several Republicans waited until January of the election year to announce they would not run. That means some Republicans have another six months to think about whether they want to run with Trump or quit.
Published with permission of The American Independent.