Rep. John Katko (R-NY) announced his retirement Friday, making him the third House Republican who voted to impeach ex-President Donald Trump to leave the chamber.
He joins Reps. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) and Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH).
“After 32 years of public service, I have decided not to seek re-election to Congress, so that I can enjoy my family and life in a fuller and more present way,” Katko wrote on his Facebook page. “My conscience, principles, and commitment to do what’s right have guided every decision I’ve made as a Member of Congress, and they guide my decision today.”
Trump wasted little time celebrating Katko’s exit, despite the fact that the House Republican ran nearly 20 points ahead of the former president in his district in 2020.
“Great news, another one bites the dust,” Trump crowed. “Katko, from Upstate New York, is gone!”
Last spring, Katko and Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS), leaders of the House Homeland Security committee, had crafted legislation to form an independent committee to investigate the Jan. 6 insurrection. Though Katko was deputized by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) to strike the bargain, Republican leadership in both chambers turned against the committee. Senate Republicans ultimately killed it, leaving the House to stand up its own bipartisan commission.
Katko also voted for the bipartisan infrastructure bill, incurring the wrath of some of his GOP peers.
Katko’s path to reelection was somewhat murky, as New York is still finalizing its 2022 maps through its redistricting process. He could have potentially been forced into a primary with neighboring Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-NY), as some draft maps demonstrate. His departure may ease the redistricting process for New York Democrats who no longer have to navigate his crossover appeal, Kyle Kondik, managing editor of Sabato’s Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, points out.
“Representing Central New York in Congress — solving real problems, and relentlessly championing bipartisanship — has been the honor and privilege of a lifetime,” Katko concluded.