Establishment Republican Charlie Dent Announces Retirement from Congress

UNITED STATES - JULY 25: Rep. Charlie Dent, R-Pa., leaves a meeting of the House Republican conference in the Capitol on July 25, 2017. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/Getty

Establishment Congressman Charlie Dent (R-PA) has announced he will not seek re-election in 2018, amid fury amongst the Republican base over his repeated attempts to block President Donald Trump’s agenda.

The decision follows a rally that took place in Dent’s home state of Pennsylvania protesting Dent’s ongoing obstruction of President Donald Trump.

Since Trump took office in January, Dent has voted against defunding Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider; stifled his efforts of health care reform; and opposed a temporary ban of people from six high-risk countries from entering the United States.

Dent also serves as co-chair of the “Tuesday Group,” which describes itself as the “moderate” wing of the GOP and has previously claimed he considers himself part of the “governing wing of the Republican party.”

“I’ve worked to instill stability, certainty, and predictability in Washington,” Dent said in a statement. “I’ve fought to fulfill the basic functions of government, like keeping the lights on and preventing default. Regrettably, that has not been easy given the disruptive outside influences that profit from increased polarization and ideological rigidity that leads to dysfunction, disorder and chaos.”

“But I have also had a stake in major legislative accomplishments: budget agreements that prioritize our federal commitments, pro-growth trade, and tax policy, initiatives to advance medical innovation and research, major infrastructure investments, and policies that secure our homeland.”

The decision comes after State Rep. Justin Simmons, who spoke at this week’s “No Surrender” rally, confirmed he would challenge Dent in a primary, branding him “the most liberal Republican in Congress.”

“I guess the polling must have been really bad. Can’t say we were expecting this,” Simmons said on hearing the news. “I think right now we could say, ‘Mission Accomplished.’ We wanted to make sure we got a more conservative candidate in the seat, and now we can do that.”

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