Ryan A Costello

Some House members are contemplating retirement, according to history
GOP departures last cycle helped fuel Democrats’ takeover

The decision by Rep. José E. Serrano, D-N.Y., to retire isn’t likely to affect the 2020 election map, since Hillary Clinton carried his district by 89 points in 2016. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As the unofficial kickoff of summer, Memorial Day is a time to remember the fallen, spend time with family and grill meats. But history tells us it’s also a time for more than a handful of members to reconsider their future in the House.

Going back to 1976, an average of 23 House members have not sought re-election or another office each election cycle. So far this cycle, just four have made that decision, which means more retirements will come and competitive open seats could change the fight for the majority.

Republicans from moderate districts bucking their party on background checks
Five Republicans have co-sponsored gun safety legislation hitting the floor on Wednesday

Pennsylvania Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick has signed onto legislation to expand background checks. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Wednesday’s House vote on legislation expanding background checks for gun sales is a top priority for a handful of Republicans from more moderate districts.

But while they’re largely in line with public opinion on the issue — and with the chamber’s new Democratic majority — they’re at odds with other Republicans in Congress.

Incoming Freshman Chrissy Houlahan Running for Democratic Leadership Post
Pennsylvania member-elect announces bid for Democratic Policy and Communications Committee co-chair

Rep.-elect Chrissy Houlahan, D-Pa., is running to be one of three co-chairs of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Pennsylvania member-elect Chrissy Houlahan is launching a bid for Democratic leadership, arguing that the nearly 60 incoming freshmen should be represented as the caucus crafts its messaging strategy for defending its newly obtained majority.

“I think that people recognize that there is this great big class of people who are coming in with kind of fresh experience and fresh legs and fresh ideas and that if we would like to maintain the majority that we need to make sure that we’re listening to everybody,” she said in an interview. 

Midterms Were a Buffet Election for Democrats, Republicans
Each side can pick what it liked best from the results — and ignore warning signs

Sen.-elect Mike Braun, R-Ind., Sen.-elect Mitt Romney, R-Utah, Sen.-elect Josh Hawley, R-Mo., Sen.-elect Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Gov. Rick Scott, R-Fla., and Sen.-elect Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., pose for a group photo in McConnell’s office in the Capitol on Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

When I was a kid in small-town Oregon, my family would occasionally go to King’s Table, and my sister and I would get free rein at the buffet.

I became famous in my own family for my condiment salad — an impressive collection of bacon bits, croutons, shredded cheese, sunflower seeds and plenty of ranch dressing. Essentially, my strategy involved choosing what looked and tasted good and avoiding anything of nutritional value.

Rep. Adam Kinzinger ‘Disgusted’ By Trump Mocking Unseated Republicans
‘Some of them lost because people, frankly, were voting against the president,’ GOP congressman says

Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger said some Republicans suffered losses on Election Day because of backlash to the president. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As President Donald Trump the day after Election Day read off a list of defeated Republicans whose losses he attributed to not embracing his endorsement on the campaign trail, Illinois Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger watched in disgust.

“I wish the president had shown some more grace in that and said ‘Thank you for your service,’ instead of ‘It’s because you didn’t back me,’” the 16th District congressman said in an interview with CNN Tuesday. “I was very disgusted when I heard that.” 

Retiring GOP Congressman: Trump Mocking Defeated Republicans Like ‘Dancing on Somebody’s Grave’
Rep. Ryan Costello has positioned himself as a prominent Trump critic

Rep. Ryan Costello, R-Pa., called President Donald Trump's comments at a press conference Wednesday “deeply offensive.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Retiring Rep. Ryan Costello bristled at the president’s chiding words for Republicans who did not campaign on his support and lost their midterm races, likening it to “dancing on somebody’s grave.”

“It’s highly inappropriate, and it’s deeply offensive,” Costello said in an interview with CNN. “Every single one of those members took tough votes in order to advance a center-right agenda because they believed in it, but they took a lot of heat for it. The president should be thanking them for putting up the tough votes and advancing an agenda which I believe we are better off economically because of a lot of the policies that have been implemented.” 

A Poor Election Night for Republicans in Clinton Districts
GOP-held seats that Clinton won in 2016 mostly swung to the Democrats this year

Rep. Barbara Comstock, R-Va., represented a district Hillary Clinton won by 10 points in 2016. She lost her bid for a third term Tuesday night to Democrat Jennifer Wexton. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated Wednesday, 3:06 p.m. | Democrats have won a House majority, boosted by several key pickups of Republican-held districts that backed Hillary Clinton two years ago. 

The party needed a net of 23 seats to take over the chamber. 

Their Districts Are at Risk. But They Still Vote ‘No’ on Climate Action
High waters and toxic blooms haven’t scared these lawmakers

Storm surge and waves from Hurricane Michael batter homes in the Florida Panhandle community of Shell Point Beach on Oct. 10. (Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images)

He lives just half a mile away from the beach in Sarasota, Florida, but Len Seligman, a local musician, has barely enjoyed the sun and sand by the waterside recently, discouraged by the stench of dead fish and other marine animals washed ashore, poisoned by toxic algal blooms.

“In the last few months, there have only been a few days that it’s been tolerable,” the 63-year-old retired computer researcher said. “You just can’t breathe when the red tide is bad.”

Chants of ‘We Want Cruz’ Fill DC Arena as Lobbyists Beat Lawmakers
Congressmen lose out again — in basketball, that is

Rep. Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio, left, passes to Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who sets up for a shot. (Alex Gangitano/CQ Roll Call)

When his teammate made the steal, Sen. Ted Cruz was in position. He caught the pass. He missed the shot. 

But the Cruz fan base was loyal. A small voice from the crowd later yelled, “We want Cruz,” and the emcee took up the cry.

McCain and 37 Others Remembered at Annual Memorial Service
Former members ‘broke down barriers and challenged the status quo’

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi remembers her friend, Rep. Louise Slaughter, at a ceremony to honor former members of Congress who died over the past year. (Alex Gangitano/CQ Roll Call)

Just a few days after Sen. John McCain lay in state in the room next door, the Arizona senator and the 37 other former members of Congress who died over the last year were honored at a ceremony in Statuary Hall on Wednesday.

Arizona’s other senator, Jeff Flake, was added to the list of participants following the death of his close colleague.