Rep. Susan Brooks announced Friday she will not seek reelection in her Indiana district in 2020 despite heading efforts to enlist GOP women to run for Congress and take back the House.
“While it may not be time for the party, it’s time for me personally,” the Indiana Republican, said to USA TODAY. “This really is not about the party. It’s not about the politics. It’s just about, ‘How do I want to spend the next chapter of my life?’”
“It’s a bit of a selfish decision. I appreciate that,” Ms. Brooks said. “But I also think what people need to appreciate is, once you enter elected office, it’s OK to walk away. It’s OK to break the rules and not stay in the game until you’re defeated or something bad happens in your career.”
Ms. Brooks’ is one of 13 GOP women in the House, the fewest in a quarter century.
She said she understands if the Republican Party wants to replace her as recruitment chief but she has “no idea what they’re going to do” since she hadn’t shared her decision with party leaders.
Ms. Brooks said Indiana’s 5th Congressional District would remain in GOP control without her.
While she carried her district by more than 13 percentage points in the 2018 election, the 5th District also voted for incumbent Sen. Joe Donnelly over the Republican nominee and eventual winner, Sen. Mike Braun, according to the nonpartisan election news site Decision Desk.
House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy said in a statement that Ms. Brooks is a “dear friend” who has embodied “what leadership in public service is meant to be.
“She has taken bold and principled positions and pushed our conference to understand the challenges and opportunities our country faces. Her presence, advice and sound judgment will be missed in the next Congress, but I wish her and her family only the best when they embark on their next chapter,” the California lawmaker said.
Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairwoman Rep. Cheri Bustos said in a statement that Ms. Brooks’ retirement shows that “Republicans efforts to retake the majority are in a tailspin.”
“In a party whose leadership continually marginalizes women’s voices, losing Congresswoman Brooks, who was working hard to recruit women to run for office, underscores the problem Washington Republicans have created for themselves,” the Illinois Democrat said. “As the ranks of women in the House Republican caucus continues to shrink, it must be disappointing to lose such a strong advocate for Republican women.”