Republican Rep. Charlie Dent was planning to retire. Now he won't even finish the remainder of his term.
Dent, who has been described as one of the few remaining House Republicans with some semblance of a moderate agenda, and who has criticized Trump over his behavior during the Russia investigation, said in September that he would not seek re-election, and made clear that part of the reason was that he no longer believed Congress was functioning.
“Accomplishing the most basic fundamental tasks of governance is becoming far too difficult,” Dent lamented at the time. “It shouldn’t be, but that’s reality.”
Dent struck a similar tone in his resignation announcement. “It is my intention to continue to aggressively advocate for responsible governance and pragmatic solutions in the coming years,” he said.
Dent is the sixth House Republican this term to announce an early departure. Reps. Jason Chaffetz, Tim Murphy, Pat Tiberi, Trent Franks, and Blake Farenthold have also done so. Since their departures, one of these seats has flipped blue, and two of them have special elections scheduled.
In total, 39 House Republicans have announced they will not run for re-election in November. That includes House Speaker Paul Ryan, who threw his caucus into further chaos last week when he announced he won’t seek re-election either.
Dent will be the last Republican to represent Pennsylvania’s 15th Congressional District in its current form, after the state Supreme Court struck down the maps for illegal partisan gerrymandering. The new 15th District will actually be more heavily tilted toward Republicans than the version Dent represented, although the state as a whole now has a much more balanced map that gives Democrats new pickup opportunities.
The Republican House caucus is now in a state of freefall, hemorrhaging lawmakers at a frantic pace. It is clear that change is coming in November, and some aren’t even willing to stick around for the massive defeat heading their way.