House of Representatives

Two House Republicans to Retire, Continuing an Exodus Under Trump

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Representative Frank LoBiondo, left, of New Jersey in 2013; Representative Ted Poe of Texas in 2015. Credit Charles Dharapak/Associated Press, left; Andrew Harnik/Associated Press

Two veteran House Republicans announced on Tuesday that they would not seek re-election next year, the latest conservative lawmakers to commit to leaving office under President Trump.

The representatives, Frank A. LoBiondo of New Jersey and Ted Poe of Texas, made their announcements within hours of each other and added their names to a growing list of Republicans bowing out before the midterm elections. The rush of retirements has led some, particularly eager Democrats, to believe that the House of Representatives could look very different in 2019.

Mr. LoBiondo, 71, who first took office in 1995, did not mention Mr. Trump in his announcement though he delivered a searing indictment on a decline in political civility, action and collegiality during his time in Congress. He bemoaned a constant polarization that discouraged opposing sides to engage in honest debates about legislation.

“As some of my closest colleagues have also come to realize, those of us who came to Congress to change Washington for the better through good governance are now the outliers,” Mr. LoBiondo, who represents South Jersey, said in his retirement statement. He added, “A vocal and obstinate minority within both parties has hijacked good legislation in pursuit of no legislation.”

After 12 terms in office, Mr. LoBiondo said he decided to leave now in part because of term limits on his service on the Intelligence Committee and as chairman of the Transportation Committee’s subcommittee on aviation. But Democrats have also targeted the seat held by Mr. LoBiondo, a moderate who has opposed major Republican legislation like a repeal of the Affordable Care Act, as a possible priority in trying to take back the majority in the House.

Mr. Poe, 69, who represents suburbs outside Houston, said in his announcement that he wanted to retire to spend time with his 12 grandchildren, who were all born after he first took office in 2005. “Thanks to the good Lord, I’m in good health, but it’s time for the next step,” he said.

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Wendy Pettit

Wendy Pettit is a writer for NYT and writes for other publications on her spare time. She lives in Chicago with her husband and her dog Zuko.

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