Wisconsin Rep. Mike Gallagher, one of three House Republicans to vote against impeaching Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas last week, has announced that he will not seek re-election.
“Eight years ago, when I first ran for Congress, I promised to treat my time in office as a high-intensity deployment,” Gallagher, who will retire in January 2025 after his fourth term, said in a statement Saturday.
“Through my bipartisan work on the Armed Services and Intelligence Committees, chairing the Cyberspace Solarium Commission, and chairing the Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party, we’ve accomplished more on this deployment than I could have ever imagined,” he said.
“But the Framers intended citizens to serve in Congress for a season and then return to their private lives. Electoral politics was never supposed to be a career and, trust me, Congress is no place to grow old,” the rep said.
“And so, with a heavy heart, I have decided not to run for re-election,” Gallagher said. “Thank you to the good people of Northeast Wisconsin for the honor of a lifetime.
“Four terms serving you has strengthened my conviction that America is the greatest country in the history of the world. And though my title may change, my mission will always remain the same: deter America’s enemies and defend the Constitution.”
Gallagher informed House Republican leadership weeks before that he would vote against the impeachment resolution they were pushing — and defended his decision in a Wall Street Journal op-ed the day after it failed.
“Impeachment not only would fail to resolve Mr. Biden’s border crisis but would also set a dangerous new precedent that would be used against future Republican administrations,” he wrote.
“The person chiefly responsible for the chaos and devastation that has unfolded at the border is Mr. Biden, not Mr. Mayorkas,” Gallagher said. “If Mr. Mayorkas were removed, his replacement would also implement Mr. Biden’s disastrous border policies.”
He also told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in an interview that he did not choose to retire based on backlash from his vote against impeachment.
Gallagher joined retiring Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) and Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) in voting Feb. 6 against two articles of impeachment for Mayorkas for allegedly failing to enforce federal immigration law and lying to Congress about the US border being “secure.”
With Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) absent while undergoing treatment for blood cancer, House Republicans could only afford to lose three votes and still remove President Biden’s chief border enforcement official.
The majority’s calculation also relied on the absence of Rep. Al Green (D-Texas), who had been gone from Congress as well while he recovered from an intestinal surgery.
But as the clock ticked down, Green showed up in a wheelchair on the House floor to oppose the impeachment. The measure ended up failing in a 214-216 vote.
House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mark Green (R-Tenn.) and others tried to pressure Gallagher into flipping his vote to no avail, forcing GOP conference Vice Chairman Blake Moore (R-Utah) to switch his vote and join the majority so he could offer a motion to bring the resolution back to the floor at a later date.
House GOPers are expected to take up their impeachment push again Tuesday.
“Last night was a setback, but democracy is messy,” House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) told reporters the day after last week’s vote. “We live in a time of divided government. We have a razor-thin margin here, and every vote counts.”
“Sometimes when you’re counting votes and people show up when they’re not expected to be in the building, that changes the equation,” he added, referring to Green’s appearance. “We will pass those articles of impeachment. We’ll do it on the next round.”
On Sunday, Mayorkas said on MSNBC’s “Meet the Press” that neither he nor President Biden bore “responsibility for a broken system” that has allowed the migrant flood, although he acknowledged the situation at the border is a “crisis.”
Biden and the Homeland Security secretary had urged House Republicans to pass a bipartisan Senate border bill, with additional aid for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, but it was voted down in the upper chamber last Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Scalise’s office released a statement last Thursday announcing the majority leader was “in complete remission” from cancer after having “successfully completed his autologous stem cell treatment” and would be “returning to Washington next week for votes.”
With Scalise’s return, House Republicans must also keep members who were on the fence about impeaching Mayorkas from flipping their vote, including Reps. David Joyce (R-Ohio) and Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.).
Gallagher served on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and Armed Services Committee and was chairman of the bipartisan House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party.
He briefly considered challenging Wisconsin Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin for her seat in Congress last year but decided against it, citing his China committee work and saying he intended to seek a fifth term in the House.
Rep. Carlos Gimenez (R-Fla.), another member of the China panel, is being considered by House GOP leaders to replace Gallagher as chairman if the party maintains its majority, a source told The Post.