Wisconsin GOP Rep. Mike Gallagher won’t run for re-election

Wisconsin GOP Rep. Mike Gallagher, who made news earlier this week with his vote against impeaching Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, announced on Saturday that he won’t run for re-election this year.

“The Framers intended citizens to serve in Congress for a season and then return to their private lives. Electoral politics was never supposed to be a career and, trust me, Congress is no place to grow old. And so, with a heavy heart, I have decided not to run for re-election,” Gallagher said in his statement.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, which was one of the first outlets to report the news of Gallagher’s retirement from the House alongside The Wall Street Journal, reported Saturday that the congressman “said his future work will be in-line with his national security goals and focus on defense policy.”

Gallagher on Tuesday was one of three House Republicans who voted against impeaching Mayorkas, whom Republicans have accused of violating his oath of office. Gallagher was among several Republicans who expressed skepticism about impeaching Mayorkas ahead of the failed vote, saying during a closed-door meeting Tuesday morning that impeaching Mayorkas would “open Pandora’s box,” lawmakers leaving the room told reporters.

The Wisconsin Democratic Party pointed to Gallagher’s decision to resign as evidence that “Speaker [Mike] Johnson and the House GOP are mired in chaos and dysfunction.”

“Mike Gallagher calling it quits is about as stark an indictment of Republicans’ inability to govern as you can get,” Wisconsin Democratic Party Communications Director Joe Oslund added to NBC News in a statement. “Wisconsin Democrats look forward to competing in the 8th and bringing some stability and competence back to the House.”

The congressman has represented Wisconsin’s 8th Congressional District since 2017 and currently chairs the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party.

He joins more than a dozen House Republicans who won’t seek re-election in 2024, according to the House Press Gallery.

Earlier this week, Washington GOP Rep. Cathy McMorris-Rodgers, who chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee, also announced that she wouldn’t seek re-election this fall.

Republican political consultant Alex Bruesewitz has been mulling a primary challenge to Gallagher and said in a social media post on Saturday that Gallagher was once “considered by many as a rising star in the GOP,” but “instead of embracing the MAGA movement, he decided to betray the grassroots and protect the swamp.”

“But for the reporters, members of Congress, and grassroots patriots across Wisconsin, who are reaching out to me asking if I will run… let’s just say I am now taking a VERY STRONG LOOK,” Bruesewitz added.

Last year, national Republicans hoped to recruit Gallagher to run for Senate against Sen. Tammy Baldwin, a Democrat who is seeking a third term this year, but Gallagher declined to run for the seat.

Major potential candidates such as businessmen Eric Hovde and Scott Mayer have been floated as challengers, but they have not yet declared their intentions to run.

National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Steve Daines told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in December that he expects Hovde, who ran for Senate in 2012, to run.

Wisconsin is among the strongest pickup opportunities for Republicans this cycle, but defeating Baldwin is likely to remain a battle. The nonpartisan Cook Political Report rates the race as “Lean Democratic.”

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com

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