Top House China hawk to retire, opening seat in battleground Wisconsin

Top House China hawk to retire, opening seat in battleground Wisconsin

Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., is seen outside the U.S. Capitol after the final votes of the week on Thursday, June 15, 2023.

Tom Williams | CQ Roll Call, Inc. | Getty Images

House Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wi., chairman of the Chinese Communist Party special committee, announced Saturday that he would not seek re-election this year, leaving a seat in a key swing as the 2024 campaign begins -State open at full speed.

The former Marine Corps officer joins an exodus of more than a dozen Republican congressmen planning to leave office, each paving the way for Democrats trying to regain the House majority. His seat in Wisconsin’s 8th Congressional District is particularly valuable given the state’s competitive status and Republicans’ current razor-thin majority in the House.

“Electoral politics should never be a profession, and believe me, Congress is not a place to grow old,” Gallagher said in a statement announcing his resignation.

At times, Gallagher split off from his party. He was one of three Republicans who defied party leadership on Tuesday and voted against the impeachment of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, defeating the motion.

He was also a vocal critic of former President Donald Trump’s involvement in the January 6, 2021 insurrection, but opposed Trump’s subsequent impeachment.

Despite occasional opposition to his party, Gallagher is still a key GOP voter and represents a key swing state. Trump won Wisconsin in 2016 but lost it to President Joe Biden in 2020.

Gallagher’s resignation is likely to spark a congressional uproar on both sides of the aisle to fill his seat.

Wisconsin’s 8th District is a slightly redder region of the Badger State. In 2022, Gallagher won about 72% of the vote against several third-party candidates but no formal Democratic opponent.

This time, however, could be different as Democrats are already preparing to replace him. Kristin Lyerly, a Wisconsin gynecologist, said she is considering trying to swap Gallagher’s seat.

Gallagher served four terms in Congress. His departure from Washington was unexpected given his status as a rising GOP star. Last year, Republicans considered Gallagher for a possible Senate run, but he declined.

He was also named head of the House of Representatives’ high-level China committee, which was established early last year.

The CPC Special Committee is a bipartisan group of lawmakers dedicated to monitoring and regulating U.S.-China relations. The committee made headlines in January when FBI Director Christopher Wray announced that U.S. investigators had targeted and neutralized a Chinese-backed hacking group called Volt Typhoon.

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2024-02-10 20:48:17