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More Republicans in Safe Districts Are Throwing in the Towel

When large numbers of members in the majority party who are in absolutely safe districts decide not to run for reelection, there is something in the wind. Now two more are calling it quits.

Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX), in TX-26, a badly gerrymandered R+13 district north and south of Denton, TX, but not including Denton, has had enough. Denton is north of Dallas/Fort Worth. Burgess beat the son of then-House Majority Leader Dick Armey in 2002 with the slogan "My dad is NOT Dick Armey." He's been in the House ever since. He is 72 and in an R+13 district and could easily serve another 10-20 years if he wanted to. But he said: "There's still an enormous capacity to do good, but for me it was just the right time. I'm older than dirt." And Texas dirt is really old.

Fellow Texan Pat Fallon has also had it with the House. He is in TX-04, an R+16 district that gives gerrymandering a bad name. Here it is:

House district TX-04

TX-04 is a white, middle-class district some 90 miles northeast of Dallas. This will be the fourth Dallas-area House vacancy.

Fallon is only 55. He could serve another 30 years, easily. Why is he leaving a cushy job that requires no actual work and pays $174,000/year? He plans to run for the Texas Senate seat he once held. Get this: The members' own regard for the House is so low that at least one member regards serving in a state legislature as a promotion. This is not only man bites dog, but man repeatedly bites fleeing dog and chases it to bite some more until the dog screams for mercy and the man keeps biting. And when the dog catcher grabs him, he starts biting the dog catcher until the dog catcher runs away so the man can continue biting the dog.

So far, ten House Republicans are retiring. Here is the list.

Representative Party District PVI Reason for retirement
Brad Wenstrup Republican OH-02 R+25 No clear reason; at 65 he apparently just had enough
Alex Mooney Republican WV-02 R+22 He is running for Joe Manchin's Senate seat in West Virginia
Dan Bishop Republican NC-08 R+20 He is running for the open AG seat in North Carolina
Jim Banks Republican IN-03 R+18 He is running for the open Indiana Senate seat
Pat Fallon Republican TX-04 R+16 He is running for the Texas state Senate!
Ken Buck Republican CO-04 R+13 He keeps bucking his party and getting nowhere; he's sick of it
Michael Burgess Republican TX-26 R+13 He thinks he is older than dirt at 72
Kay Granger Republican TX-12 R+12 She is 80 and tired of being pushed around by the Freedom Caucus
Victoria Spartz Republican IN-05 R+11 Possibly due to some run-ins with Kevin McCarthy
Debbie Lesko Republican AZ-08 R+10 She is tired of Washington

Ten Republicans in absolutely safe districts are quitting. Four are running for some other office, but six are just fed up with the House. That's too much to be chance. Only one is old (Kay Granger) and she has an enormously powerful position as chair of the Appropriations Committee. People normally don't give up that kind of power, but she's just fed up with the whole thing. Something is going on here. By February, we'll know how many more people have had it. So far there are 28 (including Brian Higgins, who will quit in February and will be replaced in a special election). (V)

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