Another slew of Republicans have announced that they will not seek reelection in 2018. Reps. Gregg Harper (R-MS, 3rd), Ron DeSantis (R-PA, 6th), Ed Royce (R-CA, 39th), and Darrell Issa (R-49th) have joined a growing number of their GOP colleagues who will be retiring from Congress at the end of the year.
Harper said last Thursday that he will not run again in 2018. He is currently the chairman of the House Administration Committee, a panel that has recently gained attention as it grapples with overseeing sexual harassment and reporting policies. The congressman has represented Jackson, Mississippi, and its surrounding area since 2009, and has not announced any post-2018 plans, though his name has been floated as a potential replacement for Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS). His district is likely to elect a Republican to replace him this year.
DeSantis is leaving the House to run for governor, he announced Friday. President Donald Trump has already expressed his support for the candidate in a tweet, saying, “Congressman Ron DeSantis is a brilliant young leader, Yale and Harvard Law, who would make a GREAT Governor of Florida. He loves our Country and is a true FIGHTER.” DeSantis challenges Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, who is widely supported by the network of establishment Republicans in the state. DeSantis ran for Senate in 2016 but dropped out when Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) decided to run for reelection at the eleventh hour.
Royce, whose chairmanship of the House Foreign Affairs Committee is term-limited, will not seek reelection, he announced Monday. Hillary Clinton won his district by nearly nine points in 2016, and the thirteen-term congressman was already facing challenges from Democrats looking to flip his seat in 2018. Republicans remain confident in their influence in Orange County, and could still maintain control of the seat with a strong candidate.
Fellow California Rep. Darrell Issa’s Wednesday announcement also opens up a seat that Democrats see as a prime pickup opportunity in their campaign to regain the House in 2018. The congressman had widely been considered the most vulnerable Republican going into the midterm elections this year after keeping his seat by just over half a percent, or about 1,600 votes, in 2016. He is the former chairman of the House Oversight Committee and is currently serving his ninth term in Congress.