Republican Rep. Charlie Dent Announces He Will Not Seek Re-Election
Rep. Charlie Dent (L), R-Pa., a key moderate in the health care bill debate, explains why he would be voting "no" on the Obamacare replacement on March 23, 2017 while on Capitol Hill in Washington.J. Scott Applewhite / AP file
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The leader of the moderate House Republicans announced on Thursday evening that he will not seek re-election in 2018.
Rep. Charlie Dent, R-Penn., said that he is proud of his more than 25 years of state and federal service, but that the time had come to leave office.
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“Frankly, I never planned on serving, voters permitting, more than five or six terms in the US Congress,” Dent said in a statement. “I'm now serving my seventh term.”
Dent, who has not shied away from criticizing President Donald Trump, said he had talked about leaving his seat since the government shutdown in 2013, but the discussions became more serious earlier this year. He came to a final decision earlier this summer, he said.
“As a member of the governing wing of the Republican Party, I've worked to instill stability, certainty and predictability in Washington,” Dent said in his statement. “I've fought to fulfill the basic functions of Government, like keeping the lights on and preventing default.”
But he also noted that the recent “dysfunction, disorder and chaos” had made that work difficult, also blaming Washington D.C.’s recent tendency toward “polarization and ideological rigidity.”
The decision will be a tough blow to moderate Republicans, as Dent served as the co-chair of the Tuesday Group caucus, which included more than 50 center-right congressmembers "dedicated to effective and responsible governance."
“I promise to continue my role, both inside and soon outside of government, of giving voice to the sensible center and working to solve problems for the American people through smart policy - the product of negotiation, cooperation and inevitably, compromise,” the longtime congressman pledged.
Phil McCausland is an NBC News reporter focused on rural issues and the social safety net.