WASHINGTON, D.C. — Rep Charlie Dent announced Tuesday that he will be leaving his role in Congress “in the coming weeks.”
Dent, a high profile moderate from Pennsylvania, hinted in September that he wouldn’t seek another term in office after serving as a member of Congress since 2005.
“After discussions with my family and careful reflection, I have decided to leave Congress in the coming weeks,” Dent said in a statement. “Serving the people of the 15th Congressional district has been a tremendous responsibility and the privilege of a lifetime, and I am honored by the trust that so many of my constituents placed in me to represent them in Washington. Actively engaging in the legislative and political process presents many challenges, and in so doing, I believe I have had a positive impact on people’s lives and made a difference in Congress.
I am especially proud of the work I have done to give voice to the sensible center in our country that is often overlooked or ignored. It is my intention to continue to aggressively advocate for responsible governance and pragmatic solutions in the coming years.”
Dent becomes the twenty-third Republican to announce they would not be seeking another congressional term. His announcement follows that of Paul Ryan who announced last week that he too will be stepping down from his congressional role as Speaker of the House at the beginning of 2018.
Dent’s announcement angered some Pennsylvania Republicans who say worrying about replacing Dent ahead of what promises to be a hotly contested mid-term election has put undue pressure on the GOP.
“I had called on him [Charlie Dent] to tell the truth months ago,” Tom Carroll, the chairman of the Bethlehem Republican City Committee and vice chair of the Lehigh Valley Tea Party, told Salon. “I had heard that he was going to be resigning to set up a special election so that he could manipulate who would win because the party rules in special elections are different than just in a normal primary. He was confronted [by] numerous sources and said he wasn’t going to resign. So, once again, he has not told the truth. I find him quite honestly reprehensible at this point. I say, ‘Good riddance.'”
He added, “I think it’s disgusting that he’s done this in a way that now we’re forced to have a special election prior to a general election coming up. He’s costing taxpayers money, if that’s the way it goes.”