Rep. Charlie Dent (R-NY), a moderate who often bucks his own party, announced late Thursday that he will not seek re-election to the House in 2018.
Dent, the co-chair of the moderate Tuesday Group in the House, first revealed that he would retire in an interview with the Washington Post.
“Accomplishing the most basic fundamental tasks of governance is becoming far too difficult,” he told the Washington Post. “It shouldn’t be, but that’s reality.”
Dent told the Post that waited until Thursday to tell House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Rep. Steve Stivers (R-Ohio), the chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee, House Republicans’ fundraising arm. He said that Ryan and Stivers would prefer for him to seek re-election, but that he had decided this summer to retire.
He followed up with a statement explaining his decision to leave Congress.
“I have done my best to make a meaningful, positive impact. As a member of the governing wing of the Republican Party, I’ve worked to instill stability, certainty and predictability in Washington. I’ve fought to fulfill the basic functions of Government, like keeping the lights on and preventing default,” he said. “Regrettably, that has not been easy given the disruptive outside influences that profit from increased polarization and ideological rigidity that leads to dysfunction, disorder and chaos.”
Dent said in the statement that he would “continue my role, both inside and soon outside of government, of giving voice to the sensible center and working to solve problems for the American people through smart policy — the product of negotiation, cooperation and inevitably, compromise.”
His decision to retire in 2018 leaves Republicans to defend yet another swing district without an incumbent running. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA) have both already announced they will not run for re-election in districts that Republicans could have trouble maintaining.