U.S. Congressman Charlie Dent, a leader of a moderate group of Republicans and a frequent critic of President Donald Trump, said Tuesday he would resign from Congress next month.
“After discussions with my family and careful consideration,” I have decided to leave Congress in the coming weeks,” Dent said. “It is my intention to aggressively advocate for responsible governance and pragmatic solutions in the coming years.”
Dent previously announced he would retire from Congress in September for personal reasons while also complaining that the Republican Party, which controls both houses of Congress and the White House, has shifted further to the right. Dent’s initial announcement was made amid threats from Trump supporters to launch a campaign to replace him.
Dent is chairman of the Tuesday Group, an informal alliance of several dozen moderate Republicans. He and Trump clashed in 2017 over the battle to replace the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare — an effort that eventually failed.
He also submitted legislation Friday that would protect special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election from any attempts by the Trump administration to oust him.
Dent’s resignation could lead to a costly special election if the Democratic governor in Dent’s home state of Pennsylvania orders one. Republicans would have to spend millions of dollars to defend the seat. It is unclear if Gov. Tom Wolf would schedule a special election before the November 6 midterm elections.
Democrat Conor Lamb was victorious in a March special election in Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District, which Trump won by 20 points in 2016.
Dent’s 15th district, which Trump captured by an 8-point margin, is more competitive for Democrats.