By Jack Phillips
Rep. Phil Roe (R-Tenn.) announced he will not seek reelection when his term ends later this year, making him among the two-dozen members of the GOP to not seek reelection in the House.
“Serving East Tennesseans these past 11 years has been the honor of my life, and I will be forever grateful for the trust my friends and neighbors put in me to represent them. As someone who practiced medicine for over 30 years, I said I would serve five or six terms because I never intended this job to be a second career. After prayerful consideration, I have decided to retire at the end of the 116th Congress,” he said in a statement on Friday morning.
Roe, who will be 75 years old when his term ends, said that the “challenges we are facing now as complex as ever, and I still have a lot of fire in my belly” and added that he looks forward to “representing and working with President [Donald] Trump in favor of the free-market, conservative policies so many of us hold dear.”
He added: “I’m proud of the bipartisan successes. They don’t always make the headlines, but they are critical to our nation’s future. Legislation I authored has dramatically increased the availability of lifesaving epinephrine in schools for those who suffer from deadly food allergies; and the Desert Storm and Desert Shield War Memorial will be built on the National Mall in the coming years as a result of four years of effort to get my bill across the finish line.”
Tennessee’s 1st Congressional District likely will stay in Republican hands. In 2016, Trump defeated Hillary Clinton by nearly 60 points.
According to poll aggregator FiveThirtyEight, before Roe’s announcement that he wouldn’t seek reelection, he had a 99 out of 100 percent chance of winning, and it says his district “6th-most-Republican” in the United States.
“I will always cherish the friends I’ve made and people I’ve met. I could not be more grateful to my family, my staff, the volunteers, the veterans, and the numerous East Tennesseans who have made this job so rewarding,” Roe wrote in his statement.
Among the most significant members of the GOP to not seek reelection is Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), a Trump ally who has defended the president during the impeachment inquiry late last year.
“After prayerful consideration and discussion with family, today I’m announcing that my time serving Western North Carolina in Congress will come to a close at the end of this term,” Meadows, the former chair of the House Freedom Caucus, said in a statement in mid-December.
Reports have said Meadows is open to taking a role in the White House.
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