Orrin Hatch Retires: Here Are the Other 27 Republicans Quitting This Year

More high-profile Republicans have announced they will retire from Congress this year than in other recent election years, and some have said their decisions were based on divisiveness in their party caused by President Donald Trump. Here are the GOP lawmakers who have said they will be hanging up their hats in 2018.


Orrin Hatch, Utah

The 83-year old senator announced his plans to retire on Tuesday after having served Utah for just over 40 years. "I've always been a fighter," said Hatch in a video posted to Twitter. "But every good fighter knows when to hang up the gloves. And for me that time is soon approaching." It is widely assumed that 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney will run for Hatch's seat.

An announcement from Senator Orrin G. Hatch. #utpol pic.twitter.com/UeItaLjR3j

— Senator Hatch Office (@senorrinhatch) January 2, 2018

Bob Corker, Tennessee

Corker announced in September that he would not seek re-election, citing his stated intention to serve for only two terms. "Understandably, as we have gained influence, that decision has become more difficult," he said, referring to Republicans. "But I have always been drawn to the citizen legislator model, and while I realize it is not for everyone, I believe with the kind of service I provide, it is the right one for me."

Corker has been a vocal opponent of Trump, saying a month before announcing his retirement that the president "has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability nor some of the competence that he needs to demonstrate in order to be successful."

Senator Bob Corker "begged" me to endorse him for re-election in Tennessee. I said "NO" and he dropped out (said he could not win without...

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 8, 2017

Jeff Flake, Arizona

Flake took to the Senate floor in October to announce his retirement in a speech that explicitly criticized the direction the Republican Party had taken under Trump. He criticized the president's "coarseness" and "undignified behavior," and said he would no longer "be complicit" to it. "When such behavior emanates from the top of our government, it is something else: It is dangerous to a democracy," he said.


Bill Shuster, Pennsylvania

The chairman of the transportation committee announced on Tuesday that he would work with Trump to pass his infrastructure bill and then retire from Congress.

"I thought it was the best decision for me to focus 100 percent on my final year...working with the president and other Democrats and Republicans to pass an infrastructure bill, which is much needed to rebuild America," he said.

Shuster was first elected to the House in 2001, replacing his father, Bud Shuster, who also served as chairman of the committee. He had a difficult 2016 re-election campaign, during which he was accused of working too closely with airline lobbyists.

Sam Johnson, Texas

The 87-year-old announced his retirement in January of last year, telling his constituents that after much prayer he had decided: "This will be my final term in the appropriately named 'People's House.'"

Lynn Jenkins, Kansas

Jenkins announced in January that she would return to the private sector at the end of her term in order to allow "a new citizen legislator to step up and serve Kansans."

The former accountant also shut down rumors that she would be running for governor. "With the unique opportunity given to us by the American people, with Republican majorities in the House, the Senate, and now a newly inaugurated President, this is a time for action and serious policy making. This is a time for fighting for Kansas and making the tough calls; not fundraising and campaigning," she wrote in a statement.

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Florida

The first Cuban-American elected to Congress announced in April that she would retire after nearly 40 years of service. While Ros-Lehtinen is a moderate, she told reporters that her resignation had nothing to do with Trump. "I've served under all kinds of different dynamics in all these years that I've been in office here," she said.

The congresswoman represents a largely Democratic district in South Florida, and the DNC is eyeing her retirement as an opportunity to take back a seat.

John J. Duncan Jr., Tennessee

The longest-serving Tennessean in Congress announced in July that he would not be running for re-election. "I have decided I wanted to spend less time in airports, airplanes, and traveling around the district and more time with my family, especially my nine grandchildren, who all live in Knoxville," he said. "I love my job, but I love my family more."

Dave Reichert, Washington

Reichert's swing district seat is another seen as up for grabs. The seven-term moderate Republican announced in September that he would not be running in 2018. "After spending time during the August work period with family and friends, reflecting on the past, discussing the future, and celebrating another birthday, I have decided this will be my last term," said the 67-year old in a statement.

Charlie Dent, Pennsylvania

The moderate Republican announced his retirement plans in September, stating that Trump's actions did factor into his decision. "Well, at least in my case, I would say the president was a factor, but not the factor for me deciding to leave," he told CNN.

The difficult midterm environment also contributed to his decision to leave, he said. "The party of the president typically loses 32 seats in a situation like this. Of course then, Donald Trump, you know, complicates that because he's a very polarizing figure, and so I suspect our challenges will be even greater just because of that."

To the people of #PA15 #thankyou. From the bottom of my heart, serving as your representative has been the honor & privilege of a lifetime. pic.twitter.com/n10oXbGYQ7

— Charlie Dent (@RepCharlieDent) September 8, 2017

Dave Trott, Michigan

Trott faced a competitive midterm election against Democrat Haley Stevens, who served as chief of staff to President Barack Obama's Auto Task Force. "This was not an easy decision, but after careful consideration, I have decided that the best course for me is to spend more time with my family and return to the private sector," he said in a written statement.

Pat Tiberi, Ohio

The House Ways and Means Committee member announced his plans to retire in October, writing in a statement, "I have been presented with an opportunity to lead the Ohio Business Roundtable that will allow me to continue to work on public policy issues impacting Ohioans while also spending more time with my family."

But insiders claim that his resignation was due to the growing frustration about the tension between the moderate and far-right factions of the party.

Jeb Hensarling, Texas

The chairman of the House Financial Services Committee announced his imminent departure in October, saying he had never intended to make a career out of serving his district.

"Although service in Congress remains the greatest privilege of my life, I never intended to make it a lifetime commitment, and I have already stayed far longer than I had originally planned," Hensarling said.

Republican rules limit a chairman to three consecutive terms, and Hensarling's term was up at the end of 2018.

Lamar Smith, Texas

The often-controversial chairman of the House Science Committee announced his retirement in November. The 16-term representative gave several reasons, including the completion of his term as committee chairman.

Smith's district, which encompases parts of Austin and San Antonio, has shifting demographics and several potential Democratic contenders, which might have made for a difficult midterm campaign.

"For several reasons, this seems like a good time to pass on the privilege of representing the 21st District to someone else," Smith said. "I have one new grandchild and a second arriving soon! And I hope to find other ways to stay involved in politics."

Frank LoBiondo, New Jersey

LoBiondo announced in November that he would be leaving Congress after his term expired because of the polarized nature of the chamber.

"There is no longer middle ground to honestly debate issues and put forward solutions," he said. "Today a vocal and obstinate minority within both parties has hijacked good legislation in pursuit of no legislation."

Ted Poe, Texas

Poe won re-election in 2016 by nearly 30 points, but still decided to move on in 2018. Last summer the congressman announced he had been diagnosed with leukemia, but insisted he was in good health.

"I am grateful for the honor and privilege to represent the best people in America, Texas's Second Congressional District," said the 69-year-old in a Twitter statement.

Bob Goodlatte, Virginia

The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee announced his resignation in November, citing the end of his committee term and a rough prospects for the midterm election.

"After much contemplation and prayer, we decided it was the right time for me to step aside and let someone else serve the Sixth District," he said. "I will not seek re-election. With my time as Chairman of the Judiciary Committee ending in December 2018, this is a natural stepping-off point and an opportunity to begin a new chapter of my career and spend more time with my family, particularly my granddaughters."

Joe Barton, Texas

The longest-serving Texan in the House announced that he would not run for re-election following a nude photo scandal.

"While separated from my second wife, prior to the divorce, I had sexual relationships with other mature adult women," Barton said. "Each was consensual. Those relationships have ended. I am sorry I did not use better judgment during those days. I am sorry that I let my constituents down."

He announced his resignation in late November, saying the time had come to step aside.

Blake Farenthold, Texas

The lawmaker who used $84,000 in taxpayer money to settle a sexual harrasment suit announced that he would not run again in 2018.

"I understand fully that this issue has become a political distraction and I would be forced to engage in a month long campaign for personal vindication. Quite simply, my constituents deserve better. Therefore I'm announcing my decision not to run for re-election," he said.

Diane Black, Tennessee

Black said she will leave Congress in 2018 in order to run for governor. The congresswoman stepped down from her role as chairwoman of the House Budget Committee in December, but will remain in the House through the rest of the year.

Luke Messer, Indiana

Messer will leave House after his third term ends and run for Senate, facing off against Indiana Representative Todd Rokita in the primary to challenge incumbent Democrat Joe Donnelly.

Todd Rokita, Indiana

Rokita will be stepping down to run for Senate.

Raul Labrador, Idaho

The House Freedom Caucus member will be leaving Congress in order to run for governor. The GOP expects that his seat will remain a Republican stronghold.

Kristi Noem, South Dakota

Noem will be leaving Congress to run for governor. In 2010, Noem defeated Democrat Stephanie Herseth Sandlin in a tight race, but Republicans expect to retain the seat.

Steve Pearce, New Mexico

After two separate stints as a representative, the seven-term congressman will retire to run for governor in 2018.

Jim Renacci, Ohio

The multimillionaire four-term congressman will be stepping down in 2018 to focus on the gubernatorial race.

Lou Barletta, Pennsylvania

One of Trump's first supporters in Congress, Barletta will step down this year to focus on his Senate run against Democratic incumbent Bob Casey.

Evan Jenkins, West Virginia

The two-term representative will leave his office in order to challenge for Democratic incumbent Joe Manchin's Senate seat.