Congressional Retirement Tracker 2020: House Republicans Head for the Exits

It’s a particularly miserable time to be a House Republican.
December 4, 2019, 9:45pm
That total is starting to approach a modern high-water mark for GOP retirements.

This story was last updated on Dec. 6, 2019, and will be updated periodically with subsequent retirement announcements.

WASHINGTON — House Republican retirements are continuing to pile up, a sign many members aren’t enjoying their time in the minority and don’t think they’ll return to power any time soon.

North Carolina Rep. George Holding announced Friday that he won’t run for Congress in 2020 after a new state congressional map erased his gerrymandered safe district. His decision comes just one day after Georgia GOP Rep. Tom Graves decided to exit Congress. Their retirements bring the GOP total to 21 members — and counting. That’s more than 10% of the entire House Republican conference. By contrast, only six Democrats have decided to retire. Seven of these retiring Republicans represent swing districts, while only one Democrat does.

That total is starting to approach a modern high-water mark for GOP retirements: 26 Republicans retired ahead of the 2018 Democratic wave election, while 27 Republicans did before the 2008 election, the highest number for the GOP in almost a half-century.

Many House Republicans who’ve decided to leave are experiencing for the first time how much it sucks to be in the powerless minority, or are older members who’ve already used up their time as chairmen and are wondering why they’re still sticking around. President Trump is an added factor for some, and Republicans’ growing pessimism about taking back the House in 2020 is another reason why they might not be too keen on running again. And some simply don’t want to have to run tough reelection races in districts that are trending away from their party (that applies to a number of the Texas Republicans who’ve decided to leave this year).

More members will likely retire. Thanksgiving is one trigger point, as we’ve seen with Graves and Democrat Denny Heck. The end-of-year holiday breaks bringing two more times for lawmakers to get together with their families and wonder whether it’s worth it to stay in office — the last big stretch at home for lawmakers before state filing deadlines force them to decide early next year.

This list doesn’t include members who have opted to leave to run for higher office. Candidates in italics represent districts and states that could be potentially competitive in 2020.

RETIREMENTS — HOUSE

Republicans

Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah)

Rep. Rob Woodall (R-Ga.)

Rep. Susan Brooks (R-Ind.)

Rep. Paul Mitchell (R-Mich.)

Rep. Pete Olson (R-Texas)

Rep. Martha Roby (R-Ala.)

Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas)

Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas)

Rep. Kenny Marchant (R-Texas)

Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wis.)

Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.)

Rep. Bill Flores (R-Texas)

Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.)

Rep. Paul Cook (R-Calif.)

Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas)

Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.)

Rep. Francis Rooney (R-Fla.)

Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.)

Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.)

Rep. Tom Graves (R-Ga.)

Rep. George Holding (R-N.C.)

Democrats

Rep. Jose Serrano (D-N.Y.)

Rep. Dave Loebsack (D-Iowa)

Rep. Susan Davis (D-Calif.)

Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.)

Rep. Pete Visclosky (D-Ind.)

Rep. Denny Heck (D-Wash.)

RETIREMENTS — SENATE

Republicans

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.)

Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.)

Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.)

Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) (resigning at the end of 2019; his seat will be filled by a GOP appointee)

Democrats

Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.)

Members whose districts and states may be competitive or lean toward the other party in the general election are in italics.

Cover: Rep. George Holding, R-N.C., speaks as the House Ways and Means Committee marks up tax reform legislation in the Longworth House Office Building on Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2017. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call) (CQ Roll Call via AP Images)