Updated at 12:05 p.m. ET
Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., announced he will not seek re-election Wednesday, adding to a record number of House Republicans heading for the exits ahead of the 2018 midterms — perhaps seeing the writing on the wall of a possible wave election for Democrats.
There are now 31 Republicans who will not seek re-election in November: 19 who are retiring outright and another 12 who are running for higher office. And that list is is expected to grow in the coming weeks.
The last time a party had nearly that many members retire during a midterm year was in 1994, when 28 Democrats left and the GOP subsequently took back control of Congress in the Republican Revolution. Now, it’s Republicans who find themselves in the opposite and unenviable position. Just one year into his term, President Trump has record low approval ratings, congressional Republicans have had few legislative achievements save for the tax overhaul they passed last month, and Democrats seem more fired up than ever to issue a rebuke to the GOP at the ballot box this year.
“There’s no question when you look at these midterms that the Democratic base is more intense than the Republican base, and that offers some significant challenges to Republicans in holding the House, and retirements in marginal seats like [Rep. Ed] Royce’s don’t help,” said former Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., a former National Republican Congressional Committee chairman.
On Monday, Royce, a California Republican, added his name to the retirement roster. The House Foreign Affairs chairman is now one of eight committee chairmen who are calling it quits. And now with Issa also leaving, there are four open districts held by a GOP member that Trump lost last election, making those top Democratic opportunities.
House Republican Retirements
A record number of 31 House Republicans have already announced they won’t seek re-election. This list does not include members who have already resigned, if their seat will be filled by a special election before November.
SEEKING HIGHER OFFICE?
COOK PARTISAN VOTING INDEX
|Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Fla.||1989||No||D+5||Clinton, 58%-39%|
|Dave Reichert, Wash.||2004||No||EVEN||Clinton, 46%-43%|
|Ed Royce, Calif.*||1992||No||EVEN||Clinton, 52%-43%|
|Frank LoBiondo, N.J.||1994||No||R+1||Trump, 50%-46%|
|Darrell Issa, Calif.||2000||No||R+1||Clinton, 51%-43%|
|Charlie Dent, Pa.||2004||No||R+4||Trump, 51%-44%|
|Dave Trott, Mich.||2014||No||R+4||Trump, 49%-45%|
|Steve Pearce, N.M.||2002; 2010||Governor||R+6||Trump, 50%-40%|
|Ron DeSantis, Fla.||2012||Governor||R+7||Trump, 46%-40%|
|Pat Tiberi, Ohio*||2000||No||R+7||Trump, 52%-41%|
|Jim Renacci, Ohio||2010||Governor||R+8||Trump, 56%-39%|
|Joe Barton, Texas||1984||No||R+9||Trump, 54%-42%|
|Lynn Jenkins, Kansas||2008||No||R+10||Trump, 56%-37%|
|Lamar Smith, Texas*||1986||No||R+10||Trump, 52%-42%|
|Lou Barletta, Pa.||2010||Senate||R+10||Trump, 60%-36%|
|Ted Poe, Texas||2004||No||R+11||Trump, 52%-43%|
|Sam Johnson, Texas||1991||No||R+13||Trump, 54%-40%|
|Bob Goodlatte, Va.*||1992||No||R+13||Trump, 59%-35%|
|Blake Farenthold, Texas||2010||No||R+13||Trump, 60%-36%|
|Gregg Harper, Miss.*||2008||No||R+13||Trump, 61%-37%|
|Kristi Noem, S.D.||2010||Governor||R+14||Trump, 62%-32%|
|Jeb Hensarling, Texas*||2002||No||R+16||Trump, 62%-34%|
|Todd Rokita, Ind.||2010||Senate||R+17||Trump, 64%-30%|
|Jim Bridenstine, Okla.||2012||NASA Administrator (awaiting confirmation)||R+17||Trump, 61%-33%|
|Luke Messer, Ind.||2012||Senate||R+18||Trump, 67%-26%|
|Bill Shuster, Pa.*||2001||No||R+19||Trump, 69%-27%|
|John Duncan, Tenn.||1988||No||R+20||Trump, 65%-30%|
|Marsha Blackburn, Tenn.||2002||Senate||R+20||Trump, 67%-28%|
|Raul Labrador, Idaho||2010||Governor||R+21||Trump, 64%-25%|
|Evan Jenkins, W.Va.||2014||Senate||R+23||Trump, 73%-23%|
|Diane Black, Tenn.*||2010||Governor||R+24||Trump, 72%-24%|
Note: Asterisks denote committee chairs.