Rep. Charlie Dent to leave Congress ‘in the coming weeks’

April 17 (UPI) — Rep. Charlie Dent announced Tuesday he plans to leave Congress “in the coming weeks,” just months after announcing his retirement.

“After discussions with my family and careful reflection, I have decided to leave Congress in the coming weeks,” Dent said in a statement. “Serving the people of the 15th Congressional District has been a tremendous responsibility and the privilege of a lifetime.”

Dent, a Pennsylvania Republican, added he would “continue to aggressively advocate for responsible governance and pragmatic solutions in the coming years.”

In September, Dent, 57, announced he would not seek re-election in November, saying he considered the move since the government shutdown in 2013. Dent, of Allentown, has been in Congress since 2005.

Dent will join a growing list of Republican lawmakers who plan to leave Congress, including House Speaker Paul Ryan.

Dent’s departure could set up a special election in the center-right Republican’s district. Pennsylvania election law requires Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf to call for a special election within ten days of Dent’s retirement. The date for the election must be set no sooner than two months after the announcement, meaning if Dent resigns in May, the special election can’t occur until July.

Wolf could also schedule an election on the same day as the November general election — allowing for the winner of the special election to serve out the remainder of the 2018 cycle, and the winner of the normal election would begin their term in 2019.

Trump won Dent’s district by eight points in 2016. However, earlier this year the Pennsylvania Supreme Court released a new congressional map with conditions more favorable for Democrats in Dent’s district.

In March, Democrat Conor Lamb won a special election for Pennsylvania’s 18th district — an that which Trump handily won in 2016 over Democrat Hillary Clinton.