Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) is seen outside the U.S. Capitol on Thursday, June 15, 2023, after casting his last vote of the week.
Tom Williams | CQ-Roll Call Inc. | Getty Images
Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.), chairman of the Chinese Communist Party Select Committee, announced Saturday that he will not seek re-election this year, leaving him with seats in key battleground states as the 2024 election begins. Go into high gear.
The former Marine Corps officer joins an exodus of more than a dozen Republicans planning to leave their jobs, each widening the path for Democrats to regain the House majority. His seat in Wisconsin’s 8th District is especially valuable given the state’s battleground state and House Republicans’ current slim majority.
In a statement announcing his resignation, Mr Gallagher said: “Electoral politics was never meant to be a career. Believe me, Parliament is not the place to grow old.”
At times, Gallagher split from the party. He was one of three Republicans to defy party leadership and vote against impeaching Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Tuesday, defeating the motion.
He was also a vocal critic of former President Donald Trump’s involvement in the January 6, 2021, riot, but opposed Trump’s subsequent impeachment.
Although Mr. Gallagher has at times bucked his party, he remains a key Republican vote representing key battleground states. Trump won Wisconsin in 2016 but lost to President Joe Biden in 2020.
Mr. Gallagher’s retirement is likely to spark a legislative frenzy on both sides of the aisle to fill his seat.
Wisconsin’s 8th District is a slightly red area of the Badger State. In 2022, Gallagher received about 72% of the vote against several third-party candidates, but no formal Democratic challenger.
But this time could be different, as Democrats are already preparing to replace him. Kristin Leary, a Wisconsin obstetrician-gynecologist, said she is considering a bid to flip Gallagher’s seat.
Mr. Gallagher served four terms in the House of Representatives. His departure from Washington was unexpected given his status as a rising star in the Republican Party. Republicans eyed Gallagher’s bid for the U.S. Senate last year, but he declined.
He was also appointed chairman of the House of Commons’ high-profile China Committee, which was created early last year.
The Special Committee on the Communist Party of China is a bipartisan group of lawmakers dedicated to monitoring and regulating U.S.-China relations. The commission made headlines in January when FBI Director Christopher Wray announced that U.S. law enforcement agencies had targeted and neutralized a Chinese-backed hacking group known as Bolt Typhoon.