Jan 23, 2024 - Politics & Policy

House GOP retirements grow as N.D. congressman runs for governor

Rep. Kelly Armstrong. Photo: Eric Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images.

Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R-N.D.), North Dakota's lone U.S. House member, announced Tuesday he will run to succeed retiring Gov. Doug Burgum in 2024.

Why it matters: Armstrong adds to a growing list of House Republicans who have said this month they will not seek reelection and instead will either seek higher office or retire from political life.

Driving the news: Burgum, who suspended his long-shot Republican presidential campaign last month, said Monday he will not seek a third term as governor in November.

  • Armstrong, in a statement, said he has "decided to come home to run for Governor" and "take the experience I've gained fighting for North Dakota in DC, to help increase opportunity and success here in our state."
  • A member of the moderate Republican Governance Group, Armstrong touted his fight against "a radical liberal agenda" and his defenses of former President Trump during "two sham impeachments."

By the numbers: Armstrong makes seven House Republicans announcing in January that they won't seek reelection to the House.

  • That includes longtime members with seniority on powerful committees, such as Reps. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.) and Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.).
  • Just one of the other six, Rep. John Curtis (R-Utah), is leaving to run for higher office, with the rest announcing no immediate future plans.
  • Rep. Bill Johnson (R-Ohio) resigned to become president of Youngstown State University. His resignation, which took effect on Monday, brings Republicans to just 219 seats to Democrats' 213.

Between the lines: Lawmakers have attributed the exodus of House members in both parties to increasing dysfunction and chaos this congressional session.

  • A close ally of former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Armstrong was incensed by the ex-speaker's ouster last October, which resulted in a chaotic three-week fight to replace him.
  • Armstrong, in his statement on Monday, said he is "excited to get back [to North Dakota] and work with people who are interested in finding solutions not exploiting problems for political gain."

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