(Updates with quotes and details throughout)
Bloomberg Government subscribers get the stories like this first. Act now and gain unlimited access to everything you need to know. Learn more.
Rep. Fred Upton, first elected in 1986 and a former chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, announced Tuesday he won’t seek re-election.
Upton was one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Donald Trump in January 2021. Because of redistricting, he faced a re-election race in Michigan against fellow GOP Rep. Bill Huizenga.
Upton said his decision wasn’t affected by having to face a colleague or by Trump, and that he has some “unfinished business” still to take care of in the House.
“This was our decision, independent of what I did with Trump,” Upton told reporters after announcing his retirement on the House floor.
“At some point there has to be a last chapter,” Upton said. “And this is it.”
Upton is one of 31 House members not seeking re-election or running for another office this year.
Upton, who’s previously described himself as a “governing Republican,” said his proudest accomplishment over three dozen years in Congress was the 2016 21st Century Cures Act (Public Law 114-255), which increased health research funding and sought to bring groundbreaking treatments to market faster. He also touted his work for the Great Lakes.
Upton is the dean of the Michigan congressional delegation and the third-most senior House Republican in the 117th Congress. He’s tied for fifth in overall House seniority in the 117th—only Republicans Hal Rogers (Ky.) and Chris Smith (N.J.) and Democrats Steny Hoyer (Md.) and Marcy Kaptur (Ohio) have served longer.
His party-bucking votes in the 117th Congress also included support for the 2021 infrastructure law (Public Law 117-58), requiring background checks on all gun purchases (H.R. 8), and the Democrats’ immigration overhaul known as the Dream Act (H.R. 6)
Upton was re-elected easily for most of his career but won by only 4 percentage points in 2018. Upton said he thinks the House will flip to Republican control in the midterm elections, but that Republicans will have a small margin.
That will make the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, to which he belongs, “even more important to try to get things done.”
“I just hope that my successors continue the same path I’ve tried to lead since I worked for Reagan,” he said. “He was a great president, and he had a Democratic caucus.”
Upton said he told his staff of his decision this morning and that fellow Michigan Rep. Debbie Dingell, a Democrat, was his first call.
“She didn’t answer,” Upton said.
“I didn’t want to get the news,” Dingell responded.
Greg Giroux in Washington also contributed to this story.
To contact the reporter on this story: Emily Wilkins in Washington at email@example.com