Rep. Mike Gallagher Will Resign in April, Leaving the GOP With a One-Seat Majority

Political News

Wisconsin Rep. Mike Gallagher announced that he will be leaving Congress on April 19. Gallagher had previously announced he wouldn’t seek another term in 2024.

Johnson says he worked with the GOP leadership on a timeline of when he should leave.

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“I’ve worked closely with House Republican leadership on this timeline and look forward to seeing Speaker Mike Johnson appoint a new chair to carry out the important mission of the Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party,” he said.

Under Gallagher’s leadership, the Select Committee did much productive work on digging into the origins of COVID-19 and ferreting out the national security risks of TikTok. 

Gallagher is planning to leave Congress on April 19. The timing of his departure means that his 8th District seat will remain vacant until after the November election. If he had resigned on or before April 8, the governor would have been forced to call a special election. 

The 8th District is solidly Republican with a +10 GOP advantage according to the Cook Political Report. Republicans should have no trouble hanging on to the seat in November.

Gallagher had come under fire from the right recently when he resisted voting to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. He said that Republicans were misusing impeachment.

Gallagher’s exit leaves Speaker of the House Mike Johnson with few options when it comes to voting on legislation. The GOP’s margin is going to be one seat which means any legislation initiated by the Republicans will need every GOP vote in the House to succeed.

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Washington Post:

Republicans currently have a five-seat majority after Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) resigned Friday, leaving the House earlier than he initially anticipated because he found his majority to be unproductive. Like Gallagher, Buck had also announced he would not seek reelection and then decided to call it quits early.

Currently, only two Republicans can defect to pass any conservative legislation through the chamber on a party-line vote. Once Gallagher leaves in mid-April, that margin goes down to one.

The majority will narrow even further once a Democrat is elected to replace former congressman Brian Higgins (D-N.Y.), who also resigned earlier this year. Republicans will not get a reprieve until a Republican is sworn in following a May runoff election to assume the seat former speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) held for more than a decade.

Gallagher said in a Washington Post interview that he had decided to leave Congress “long before” the impeachment vote.

“We have two young daughters and we want to have more kids, and this lifestyle sucks for a young family,” Gallagher said. “That was the main thing.”

Rep. Ken Buck, who resigned from Congress on Friday, didn’t mince words on why he was leaving early.

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“I think that this place is broken when it comes to spending. There is an absolute lack of responsibility and awareness that we are going to go off a cliff if we continue to spend this way,” Buck told Colorado Public Radio News Thursday.

“There is a series of what, I think, are dysfunctions in this institution that I am tired of. And we just covered one — spending — and there are certainly others, but the place doesn’t work on behalf of the American people,” he explained.

Buck is also in a solidly red district meaning that neither departure is likely to hurt Republicans in November. But it certainly causes problems for Speaker Johnson in the short term.

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