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US Rep. Mike Gallagher will step down next month

Gallagher is to resign from the US House of Representatives effective April 19. Last month, he announced he would not seek reelection.

Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., nominates Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., in the House chamber as the House meets for a second day to elect a speaker and convene the 118th Congress in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2023. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., nominates Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., in the House chamber as the House meets for a second day to elect a speaker and convene the 118th Congress in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2023. Alex Brandon/AP Photo

U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher announced Friday he will step down from the House of Representatives next month.

In a statement, the Republican from Green Bay said he will resign effective April 19. Gallagher’s resignation will shrink an already slim Republican majority in the House from 218-213 to 217-213.

The announcement comes a month after Gallagher made news by saying he would not seek reelection.

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Gallagher said he’s worked with House Speaker Mike Johnson to set a timeline for finding a replacement to chair the House Select Committee on China.

“My office will continue to operate and provide constituent services to the Eighth District for the remainder of the term,” he said. “Four terms serving Northeast Wisconsin in Congress has been the honor of a lifetime.”

Gallagher’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment. His term runs through Jan. 3, 2025.

If his resignation took effect before April 9, under state law, a special election would be called to fill the vacancy. But because his resignation will take effect after that date, there will be party primaries in August and his successor will be chosen in the general election this November.

Gallagher’s announcement comes amid infighting between House Republicans. Earlier on Friday, U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia filed a motion to oust Johnson from the speakership, according to CNN.

NBC News reports Gallagher has grown frustrated with his own party. Earlier this month, the Green Bay Republican did not commit to attending the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee this summer in an interview with WISN-TV.

Mordecai Lee, professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and a former state legislator, said it’s clear Gallagher’s been “frustrated by Congress as much as he’s been satisfied.”

He said Gallgher appears to enjoy public policy — especially foreign policy — more than politics.

“When you think about sort of what it’s like to be a congressman these days, I suspect that there’s not a lot of pleasure and not a lot of policy,” Lee said. “But mostly, it’s sort of the war within the Republican Party.”

He said the way MAGA Republicans view governing is different than the approach of Ronald Reagan-style Republicans. He said MAGA Republicans value ideological “purity” above all else, with little room for compromise needed to make the government work.

“The way Marjorie Taylor Greene views the importance of governing compared to Mike Gallagher really crystallizes the problem within the Republican Party,” Lee said.

Gallagher was first elected to House of Representatives in 2016 and received at least 60 percent of the vote in each general election he ran in the state’s 8th Congressional District, according to Ballotpedia.

Once viewed as a rising star in the GOP, several within the party were courting him last year to challenge Democrat U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, who is running for reelection in November. 

In June, Gallagher announced he would not run for Senate and planned to remain in the House.

The revelation he would not seek reelection came less than a week after Gallagher voted against impeaching Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

Two Republicans have officially announced campaigns for Gallagher’s seat. They are former state Sen. Roger Roth, R-Appleton, and state Sen. André Jacque, R-De Pere. 

“While I wish he would have finished out his term, I appreciate Congressman Gallagher’s service to Northeast Wisconsin, particularly his work to fight the Chinese Communist Party,” Roth said in a statement Friday.

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