Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA) confirmed Thursday night that he doesn’t plan to seek re-election in next year’s midterms. Dent’s retirement puts the GOP in a tight spot since his district has always been heavily contested.
Dent said in a recent statement that he has never planned to serve more than six terms, so seeking the eighth is too much. The lawmaker said the decision is the result of lengthy talks with his family and a small group of friends. The talks have been ongoing since the 2013 government shutdown, Dent disclosed.
In Midsummer, the Republican decided not to run for office next year. Dent once said that he was a part of the “governing wing” of the GOP as he has always strived to prevent default and “keep the lights on.”
“Regrettably, that has not been easy given the disruptive outside influences that profit from increased polarization and ideological rigidity that leads to dysfunction, disorder and chaos,” Dent said in his statement.
The announcement comes one day after another key House Republican, Rep. Dave Reichert of Washington, announced his retirement. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) also plans not to run.
GOP Could Lose Three Key Seats Next Year
The three representatives hold seats that may be captured by Democrats in next year’s midterms. Dent announced his retirement just one day after Rep. Justin Simmons said he was eager to challenge him in the primaries.
This year, the departing Republican has spent much of his time challenging the Trump administration. The moderate recently joined 125 conservatives who converged in his district to oppose Trump’s action.
Dent leads the Tuesday Group and has often questioned his colleagues on various topics including the GOP’s budget plan and Trump’s proposed tax reform. His decision shocked Simmons Thursday who said he wasn’t expecting that.
Simmons has blasted Dent in recent weeks for failing to back Trump’s agenda and for losing touch with the rest of the party in his district. Last week, Dent released a series of text messages showing that Simmons had asked him for his endorsement.
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