So far, 14 House representatives have announced that they will not be on the ballot in their respective districts next year. The reasons span from health concerns to wanting more time with their families to allowing a new generation to take over next November.
Several other representatives are also stepping down from their positions either to run for positions in their home states or, in the case of some House members, to switch chambers.
Earl Blumenauer (D-OR)
Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) announced he will not run for reelection on Oct. 30 after 27 years in the House. He sits on the House Ways and Means Committee and is a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
“For fifty years, I have served in elected office at every level — as a State Legislator, Multnomah County Commissioner, Portland City Council member, and for 27 years as a member of Congress,” he said in a statement. “It is a difficult decision. Particularly after the amazing success of the last several years. But simply said, it is time to continue my life’s mission without the burden of day-to-day politics.”
Running to replace Blumenauer is Susheela Jayapal, sister to “Squad” Democrat Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA). She is the first Democrat to enter what is expected to be a highly-watched race. The seat has been held by a Democrat, Blumenauer, since 1996. The Oregon Democrat has received more than 70% of the vote in every general election since 2004.
Ken Buck (R-CO)
Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO), a member of the hard-line House Freedom Caucus, announced on Nov. 1 that he would not seek reelection. He blamed his decision on House Republicans’ “Jan. 6 narrative” and some conservatives’ insistence that the 2020 election was stolen. Buck, who is in his fifth term as a congressman, voted to certify President Joe Biden’s win in 2021.
“I always have been disappointed with our inability in Congress to deal with major issues and I’m also disappointed that the Republican Party continues to rely on this lie that the 2020 election was stolen and rely on the Jan. 6 narrative and the political prisoners from Jan. 6 and other things,” Buck said.
On the 2024 election, in which he hasn’t made an endorsement, he said, “I think this election is going to be a critical election, both at the presidential level and in the House. I think people in the House are going to have to make a decision on where they want to go with the values of the Republican Party.”
Buck’s retirement is likely to set off a crowded GOP primary in the red district. Republican state Rep. Richard Holtorf announced his campaign on Nov. 9, and conservative talk show host Deborah Flora launched her bid the day after Buck’s retirement announcement, Colorado Public Radio reported. Republican Justin Schreiber, a veteran, and Weld County Councilman Trent Leisy have also announced campaigns.
Michael Burgess (R-TX)
Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX) announced on Monday that he would not seek reelection in 2023. He has held his position for two decades. An obstetrician and Congress’s longest-serving doctor, Burgess is known for being the GOP’s voice for healthcare. He defended Anthony Fauci when Republicans were criticizing him early on in the COVID-19 pandemic, per the Dallas Morning News.
“Not very many are blessed with the opportunity to have two meaningful and impactful careers,” Burgess said in a statement, adding that it was the “honor of my life” to represent Texas in the House. “Thank you to the 26th District of Texas and the volunteers that have entrusted me with their support.”
He rejected suggestions that he is leaving due to Republican infighting.
“It’s just time. I will have been here for 22 years, much longer than I ever intended to stay,” Burgess, who will turn 73 next month, said per the Dallas Morning News. “There’s still an enormous capacity to do good, but for me, it was just the right time. I’m older than dirt.”
Burgess’s departure will likely ignite interest in his safely Republican district, which he has comfortably held without any serious competition. Democrats did not run a candidate against Burgess in the 2022 midterm elections. Democrat Kelvin Leaphart announced in July that he was running for the seat in 2024 but suspended his campaign a month later.
Kay Granger (R-TX)
Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX) announced her decision not to run for reelection hours before Buck. Granger, who is 80 years old, has served as representative of Texas’s 12th Congressional District since 1997. She leads the House Appropriations Committee.
“Serving my community has been the greatest honor, and I have always fought to improve the lives of my constituents. As the first female Mayor of Fort Worth, first Republican United States Congresswoman from Texas, and the first female Republican Appropriations Chair, I have been able to accomplish more in this life than I could have imagined, and I owe it all to my incredible family, staff, friends, and supporters,” Granger said in a statement.
She said she is “encouraged” by the next generation of leaders in the 12th District.
“It’s time for the next generation to step up and take the mantle and be a strong and fierce representative for the people,” Granger added.
Republican John O’Shea, who has the endorsement of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and supports former President Donald Trump, announced in January that he would be running for Granger’s seat. He celebrated Granger’s retirement on social media, attributing her departure to the power of his grassroots movement.
Brian Higgins (D-NY)
Rep. Brian Higgins (D-NY) announced that he will retire from Congress early in February 2024. He cited growing frustration with dysfunction in Washington, D.C., as the reason for his departure.
“It’s just a time for change, and I think this is the time,” Higgins said at a news conference, according to the Associated Press. He plans to leave office during the first week of February, he said.
Several Democratic lawmakers, including Reps. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Steny Hoyer (D-MD), released statements on Higgins’s decision to retire, praising him for his years in Congress. He served as the representative for New York’s 26th Congressional District since 2005.
Democratic state Sen. Tim Kennedy announced that he is running to replace Higgins in 2024, per the Buffalo News. He is the first candidate to announce his campaign for the special election that will be set by Gov. Kathy Hochul (D-NY) to fill Higgins’s seat.
Dan Kildee (D-MI)
Rep. Dan Kildee (D-MI) will not run for the House again in 2024 after more than a decade of serving in the lower chamber. He was elected to represent Michigan’s 8th Congressional District in 2012.
Kildee said in a statement on Thursday that he would not seek reelection, citing his battle with cancer. He announced in March that he had been diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma, later undergoing surgery in April to remove a tumor from his tonsil.
“There are times in all our lives that make you reassess your own future and path. For me, being diagnosed with cancer earlier this year was one of those moments. Thankfully, earlier this year I had successful surgery and I’m cancer-free,” he said.
“Running for office, ultimately, is a personal decision first. And this was not an easy decision to make. But I know it’s the right one for me and for my family,” Kildee added.
Kildee’s retirement could be a heavy blow to Democrats, as Cook Political Report adjusted his seat’s rating from “leans Democratic” to “toss up” shortly after his announcement.
Derek Kilmer (D-WA)
Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-WA) announced on Nov. 9 that he would not seek reelection in 2024 after nearly 20 years of public service.
Kilmer said in an op-ed in the Seattle Times that “I remain hopeful” about Congress’s ability to achieve bipartisanship and focus on underrepresented communities.
“Things aren’t going to change overnight. But, if one reviews the progress that has been made in recent years, it’s hard not to come away feeling hopeful,” Kilmer wrote. “…My main takeaway after a couple of decades in public service is this — together we can make things better.”
Washington Democratic state Sen. Emily Randall announced on Thursday that she would be running for Congress in 2024 to replace Kilmer in the heavily blue district, per the Olympian. His seat is rated as “Solid Democratic” for 2024 by Cook Political Report. Republican State Sen. Drew MacEwen said in a post on X on Nov. 10 that he is forming an exploratory committee as he considers a campaign for Kilmer’s seat.
Debbie Lesko (R-AZ)
Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-AZ) was one of the first House Republicans to announce her decision to retire from Congress. She said she would not seek reelection because “Washington, D.C. is broken” and she wishes to spend more time with family.
“Spending, on average, three weeks out of every month away from my family, and traveling back and forth to Washington, D.C. almost every weekend is difficult,” Lesko said in a statement. “Right now, Washington, D.C. is broken; it’s hard to get anything done.”
Her announcement on Oct. 17 came in the middle of Republican infighting over who to elect as House speaker after Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) was ousted.
Republican Arizona House Speaker Ben Toma said he is running to replace Lesko, who endorsed him as her successor. The district leans heavily Republican, setting the area up for a crowded GOP primary. Other candidates entering the race for Lesko’s seat include Blake Masters, the Senate candidate who lost his 2022 bid to Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ); former Arizona attorney general candidate Abe Hamadeh; Republican state Sen. Anthony Kern; and former Republican U.S. Rep. Trent Franks, who resigned from the seat in 2017 over a scandal that he asked two women in his office to carry his child. Lesko replaced Franks in a 2018 special election.
Grace Napolitano (D-CA)
Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-CA) will retire at the end of her term in 2025, she announced in July. At 86, the California Democrat is the oldest member of the House. She was elected to lead the 31st Congressional District in California in 1998.
“My focus has always been representing my district, first; state, second; and nation, third,” Napolitano said in a statement. “We still have a year and half more of work to do, and I will give 110% every day fighting for the San Gabriel Valley in the United States Congress.”
Her retirement announcement set off a wave of interest in the heavily blue district, where Republicans have very little chance of succeeding. Mary Ann Lutz, a former Napolitano staffer and former mayor of Monrovia, filed a statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission and said she would launch a campaign if Napolitano decided to retire. Baldwin Park Planning Commissioner Ricardo Vazques has also filed, per Roll Call. Democratic state Sens. Bob Archuleta and Susan Rubio have also indicated that they may run for Napolitano’s seat — and Napolitano already endorsed Archuleta shortly after announcing her retirement.
“I have known Bob for over 30 years,” she said in an interview with the Los Cerritos Community News. “I endorsed him when he ran for Pico Rivera City Council, where he did a great job, I endorsed him for his current state senator position, where he continues his passion for serving, and now I am proud to endorse him for my congressional seat.”
George Santos (D-NY)
Rep. George Santos (D-NY) announced he would not be running again in 2024 on Thursday, shortly after the House Ethics Committee released a report detailing how he misused campaign funds for personal gain.
Though he adamantly denied the allegations in the report and labeled the situation “disgusting,” he said he would not run again for the House next year. It is possible he may be expelled from the House after House Ethics Committee Chairman Michael Guest (R-MI) filed an expulsion resolution for Santos on Friday. New York Republicans have also made efforts in recent months to expel Santos, but the House has failed to do so at this point.
“I will continue on my mission to serve my constituents up until I am allowed. I will however NOT be seeking re-election for a second term in 2024 as my family deserves better than to be under the gun from the press all the time,” Santos said.
Santos’s seat is considered to be one of around six battleground New York House races in 2024. Between Democrats and Republicans, about 30 candidates are running or floating a run for the embattled congressman’s seat. Former Democratic Rep. Tom Suozzi recently declared he’ll run. 2022 Democratic nominee Robert Zimmerman and 2016 Republican nominee Jack Martins, a state senator, may also be special election contenders, per Politico.
John Sarbanes (D-MD)
Rep. John Sarbanes (D-MD) announced in October that he would not seek a 10th term in 2024. His announcement came as a surprise to Maryland residents, but he said he found “great reward” in working with nonprofit organizations and volunteering in his community.
“That too is a powerful form of public service. For some time now, I have found myself drawn back to that kind of work — wanting to explore the many opportunities to serve that exist outside of elected office. With that in mind, I have decided not to seek re-election in 2024,” Sarbanes said in a statement.
He said that, while stepping away from Congress voluntarily may seem like the wrong thing to do given “our country faces many challenges right now … the Democratic caucus that will carry forward into the next Congress and beyond has a strength and unity of purpose that bodes well for the future.”
Several high-profile Democrats have indicated that they may run for Sarbanes’s seat, including state Rep. Vanessa Atterbeary, according to Maryland Matters. Democratic state Sen. Sarah Elfreth announced she was running for Maryland’s 3rd Congressional District to replace Sarbanes on Nov. 4, per the Capital Gazette. Republican Berney Flowers has launched a bid for the seat, as well.
Victoria Spartz (D-IN)
Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-IN) will not seek another term in the House and will not launch a bid for the Senate in 2024, electing to withdraw from national politics altogether. Spartz is in her second term as a congresswoman and is considered an independent voice in the Republican conference.
“I won a lot of tough battles for the people and will work hard to win a few more in the next two years. However, being a working mom is tough and I need to spend more time with my two high school girls back home, so I will not run for any office in 2024,” Spartz said.
Republican state Rep. Chuck Goodrich and Madison County Prosecutor Rodney Cummings are running in the GOP primary to replace Spartz in 2024. Republican Matthew Peiffer, who is the 25-year-old president of nonprofit group A Voice For Kids, filed campaign paperwork but is unsure if he will run next November, per the Indy Star.
Brad Wenstrup (R-OH)
Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH) announced on Nov. 9 that he would not seek another term in the House in 2024 after more than a decade in the lower chamber.
“I work in a place where a lot of people want to be somebody, but a surgeon mentor of mine once said, ‘You don’t have to be somebody somewhere else as long as you’re somebody at home,’” Wenstrup said in a video announcing his retirement. “Sadly, all too often, the frantic pace of Washington has kept me away from our home. I’m ready to change that.”
Republican state Sen. Niraj Antani announced on Tuesday that he is running to replace Wenstrup next November. He is the first Indian American state senator in Ohio’s history and the youngest currently serving member of the Ohio Senate, per the Journal-News. He has already received criticism from fellow Republicans for not living in Ohio’s 2nd Congressional District — Antani said in his campaign announcement that he lives “just 17 miles” from the district and would move if he won.
Jennifer Wexton (D-VA)
Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-VA) announced in September that she would not seek reelection after doctors diagnosed her with progressive supranuclear palsy. She was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease earlier this year. She said there is “no getting better” with PSP.
“People I know know I’ve struggled for a long time,” Wexton said in an interview with the Washington Post. “I’ll be able to relax and enjoy the time I have left and the time I have left in Congress.”
During the interview, she expressed to her chief of staff, Abigail Carter, “It’s not OK. It’s not OK at all. … I’m going to die, which isn’t fair.”
Local outlet WJLA reported in October that there were at least five potential Republican and nine Democratic candidates considering a run for Wexton’s seat, including several state senators and delegates. Cook Political Report ranks her seat as “Solid Democratic.”