Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) ran the National Republican Congressional Committee for both the 2014 and 2016 cycles.
Walden — who serves as the ranking member of the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee — claimed to Politico that his retirement was not because he was worried about his own reelection, nor because he felt Republicans couldn't win back the majority they lost in 2018's Blue Wave.
"Based on recent polling, strong fundraising, and the backing of my wife and family, I am confident I could earn the support of 2nd District voters for another term. I’m also optimistic that a path exists for Republicans to recapture a majority in the House, and that I could return for two more years as chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee," Walden told Politico. "But I also know that for me, the time has come to pursue new challenges and opportunities."
Yet Walden — who ran the National Republican Congressional Committee, House Republicans' campaign arm, in both the 2014 and 2016 campaign cycles — saw his victory margin narrow in 2018.
And despite his claim that he believes Republicans have a shot at the majority next year, the fact that he's adding himself to the torrent of Republican officials retiring from Congress could be taken as a sign that Republicans really don't have confidence that control of the House is within reach.
He joins a growing list of other Republicans who once chaired House committees who will retire in 2020. They include Reps. Rob Bishop of Utah, Mike Conaway of Texas, and Mac Thornberry of Texas.
Ultimately, Donald Trump carried Walden's district by a 19-point margin in 2016, making it a reach for Democrats to pick up.
Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly referred to Walden as the 17th House member to announce a retirement this year. He is the 19th.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.