Next November, voters in 20 U.S. House districts across the country will see a new name occupying the Republican spot on their ballots. As of November last year, 20 Republican House members have announced that they will not seek re-election to a new term.

Some of the lawmakers are retiring for conventional reasons like age. Others appear to be wary of losing to a Democrat in 2020 as their districts change from red to purple, while some moderate Republicans have the opposite concern: primary challengers from the right.

Either way, the number of retirements presents an uphill battle for Republicans to regain control of the House after losing the majority in 2018, especially with Democratic presidential candidates receiving the lion’s share of media attention.

Here are a few of the races that are emblematic of the GOP retirement wave sweeping the country:

Will Hurd, Texas

Rep. Will Hurd, who represents the 23rd Congressional District in Texas, announced in August that he would not seek re-election in 2020. The former CIA agent said he plans to “pursue opportunities outside the halls of Congress to solve problems at the nexus between technology and national security.”

Hurd, the only black Republican in the House, won his district by less than one point in 2018 and has been one of few Republicans to publicly condemn President Trump, particularly on immigration. 

He led a bipartisan effort to introduce legislation that tightened border security without building a wall and criticized the administration’s policies of separating families at the border. 

Hurd’s district covers the largest stretch of the U.S.-Mexico border. With his departure, it is likely to be represented by a Democrat in 2020.

Martha Roby, Alabama

Alabama Rep. Martha Roby was one of President Trump’s earliest critics. She rescinded her support for his candidacy following the release of the infamous Access Hollywood tape in 2016. 

Unlike Hurd, Roby’s district is solidly Republican. However, her public disagreement with the president brought out four primary challengers in 2018. She defeated all of them and eventually earned President Trump’s endorsement. 

Roby said her relationship with the White House has improved since 2016 and did not cite it as one of her reasons for retiring.

“When the president is successful, we’re all successful,” Roby told AL.com. “And there are policies that I share, priorities that I share with this administration and I’ve done everything I can to make sure we got those priorities across the finish line to the president’s desk.

Roby is currently one of only 13 Republican women in the House — down from 22 in the 2016 term. Susan Brooks of Indiana also announced her retirement earlier this year, meaning the number could fall even further in 2020. 

Greg Walden, Oregon

Oregon Republican Greg Waldon represents a conservative part of a state that has a reputation for being one of the country’s most liberal. He announced in late October that he would not seek re-election in 2020, a decision some saw coming as he became more vocal about his disagreements with President Trump.

Walden was first elected in 1998 and serves as chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. It is considered one of the most powerful positions in the House, and it’s one he could have held for two more years if re-elected in 2020.

However, in his capacity as committee chair, Walden has been vocal about doing something to address climate change, which was met with resistance by the Trump administration and some of his Republican colleagues. Walden has also supported sanctions on Russia and voted with Democrats to end the government shutdown earlier this year. 

He won his district by 17 points in 2018, a margin that was much smaller than previous elections. However, the district remains strongly Republican and is likely to stay that way in 2020.


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