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Top House China hawk to retire, opening seat in battleground Wisconsin

Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., is seen outside the U.S. Capitol after the final votes of the week on Thursday, June 15, 2023.

Tom Williams | CQ-Roll Call, Inc. | fake images

House Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., chairman of the Chinese Communist Party Select Committee, announced Saturday that he will not seek re-election this year, leaving a seat open in a key state as the 2024 race begins. at full speed.

The former Marine Corps officer joins an exodus of more than a dozen Republican congressmen planning to leave their seats, each widening the path for Democrats to try to regain the House majority. His seat in Wisconsin’s 8th Congressional District is particularly valuable, given the state’s battleground status and the current Republican majority in the House of Representatives.

“Electoral politics was never supposed to be a career, and believe me, Congress is not a place to grow old,” Gallagher said in a statement announcing his departure.

At times, Gallagher has split from his party. He was one of three Republicans who on Tuesday opposed the party leadership and voted against the impeachment of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, sinking the motion.

He also openly criticized former President Donald Trump’s involvement in the January 6, 2021, insurrection, although he opposed Trump’s impeachment that followed.

Despite occasional resistance to his party, Gallagher remains a key GOP vote representing a key swing state. Trump won Wisconsin in 2016, but lost it to President Joe Biden in 2020.

Gallagher’s retirement will likely spark a congressional frenzy on both sides of the aisle to fill his seat.

Wisconsin’s 8th District is a slightly redder region of the Badger State. In 2022, Gallagher won approximately 72% of the vote against several third-party candidates, but no formal Democratic opponent.

This time could be different, however, as Democratic eyes are already preparing to replace him. Kristin Lyerly, an obstetrician-gynecologist in Wisconsin, has said she is considering an offer to replace Gallagher.

Gallagher has served four terms in Congress. His departure from Washington was unexpected given his status as a rising star in the Republican Party. Last year, Republicans looked to Gallagher for a possible Senate run, but he declined.

He was also tapped to lead the House’s high-profile China committee, which was created early last year.

The CCP Select Committee is a bipartisan group of lawmakers dedicated to overseeing and regulating relations between the United States and China. The committee made headlines in January when FBI Director Christopher Wray announced that U.S. investigators had targeted and neutralized a Chinese-backed hacking group called “Volt Typhoon.”

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