The Democratic Party may have an opportunity at winning a Congressional seat in the age of Trump after a Republican said he is stepping down. New Jersey Republican Representative Frank LoBiondo, who has served 12 terms in Congress, announced that he will be retiring at the end of his term next year.
LoBiondo confirmed on Tuesday that he will not be seeking re-election in the 2018 mid-term contest. The moderate GOP member joins a plethora of other Republican officials who have either retired or will not seek re-election next year.
Frank LoBiondo is retiring in 2018
Citing difficulty in passing legislation in the House of Representatives and the increasing polarization in Washington, Congressman LoBiondo said he is finished with politics. In the middle of his 12th term as a representative, LoBiondo is considered one of the more moderate members of the Republican Party.
He said in a statement:
People before politics has always been my philosophy and my motivation. Regrettably, our nation is now consumed by increasing political polarization; there is no longer middle ground to honestly debate issues and put forward solutions.
LoBiondo added that he believes many people who came to Congress to help improve Washington through better governance “are now the outliers.” In the end, according to LoBiondo, the “vocal and obstinate minority” among Democrats and Republicans have “hijacked good legislation in pursuit of no legislation.”
The New Jersey Republican currently serves on the Armed Services Committee and the Transportation panel in the House. The Hill reports that he voted against repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), opposes the GOP’s tax reform bill and rescinded his endorsement of President Donald Trump, though he did vote for him.
Republicans leaving Washington in Trump era
Suffice to say, President Trump is a polarizing figure for many within the Republican Party, particularly among the moderate wing of the party.
In recent months, many Republican officials have announced that they will not seek re-election in 2018 or will step down at the end of their term. The biggest resignation came from Arizona Senator Jeff Flake, who sharply rebuked President Trump in a farewell speech on the Senate floor late last month.
Flake said in a prepared speech:
There are times when we must risk our careers in favor of principles. Now is such a time.
The personal attacks, the threats against principles, freedoms, and institutions, the flagrant disregard for truth or decency, the reckless provocations, most often for the pettiest and most personal reasons, reasons having nothing whatsoever to do with the fortunes of the people that we have all been elected to serve.
Such behavior does not project strength — because our strength comes from our values. It instead projects a corruption of the spirit, and weakness.
In addition to LoBiondo, other House Republicans have confirmed they’re leaving Washington. Some of them include Pennsylvania Congressman Charlie Dent, Florida Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Texas Congressman Lamar Smith and Texas Congressman Jeb Hensarling.
On the other hand, it’s hard to tell what advantage the GOP derives from “moderates” like LoBiondo. A congressman who voted against his party on the two signature issues of the year — Obamacare and tax reform — is a weak reed indeed.