Republican Rep. Martha Roby, who criticized Donald Trump in 2016 and faced a primary challenge because of it in 2018, announced Friday that she will not seek a sixth term in her southeast Alabama district. The move means she will not be on the ballot with Trump next year.
Roby is one of just 13 Republican women in the House and the second to announce her retirement, following Indiana’s Susan W. Brooks. Three other Republicans announced this year that they will not run for reelection.
Winning for Women, a group that backs women Republicans, said in a statement that it is "critical that the Republican Party prioritize filling her seat with another strong, highly qualified woman." The group supported Roby in her primary last year.
Roby, who turned 43 Friday, was first elected to the 2nd District in 2010 after serving on the Montgomery City Council. She did not explain why she was retiring, but touted her work relating to the military, agriculture and abortion.
“Throughout my five terms in Congress, I have cast every vote with the guiding principle that Alabama always comes first,” she said in a statement.
A month before the 2016 election, Roby called on Trump to step aside as the GOP nominee after news broke of him describing assaults on women on the Access Hollywood tape.
“Donald Trump's behavior makes him unacceptable as a candidate for president, and I won't vote for him,” Roby said at the time. “Hillary Clinton must not be president, but, with Trump leading the ticket, she will be.”
She fended off a write-in challenge that year and drew multiple primary challengers in 2018. But after mending her relationship with the White House and earning an endorsement from Trump, she won the GOP nomination to the 2nd District by defeating former Democratic Rep. Bobby Bright, who switched parties, in a primary runoff by 36 points.
Trump carried the 2nd District by 32 points. Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the race Solidly Republican.
Although Roby's House seat is not competitive in a general election, Alabama is playing host to a competitive Senate race in 2020. The state is Republicans’ best pickup opportunity, with Democratic Sen. Doug Jones running for a full term after winning a special election in 2017.
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