Charlie Dent Saw the Handwriting on the Wall, Conservatives Celebrate His Retirement

Tom Williams  CQPHO

Tom Williams CQPHO

As a member of the governing wing of the Republican Party, I've worked to instill stability, certainty and predictability in Washington. But the retirements of Dent and Reichert are a huge, longer term problem that directly threatens the GOP majority in the House. "I intend to give them that new voice".

In the rest of the district, which includes parts of heavily Republican Berks, Carbon, and Lebanon counties, as well as Democratic Dauphin county, Trump carried the district 51.8 percent to 44.2 percent, election returns showed.

City & State PA was the first to report that Dent would not be running in 2018.

Dent has been critical of the president and is a leader of the Tuesday Group, a cohort of moderate Republicans.

The 15th district stretches from the Lehigh Valley to the Harrisburg suburbs.

Dent, 57, said in a statement he made the decision in midsummer not to run and that he had never planned to serve more than five or six two-year terms in Congress.

Republicans simply can not govern by catering to that one-third to one-quarter of the electorate who believe that they're doing a good job.

There are really only a handful of GOP lawmakers who deserve the "moderate" label - Dent, Florida's Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Washington's Dave Reichert - but they have something important in common: they've all been marginalized in their radicalized party and they're all calling it quits, stepping down at the end of this Congress.

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"This will be a hotly contested seat", he said off the House floor.

Recently, he opposed a GOP plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act - a move that reportedly led President Donald Trump to tell Dent he was "destroying the Republican Party". "But in the past year, Charlie Dent has completely gone off the rails", said State Rep. Justin Simmons, R-Coopersburg, in a news release.

For years, Dent has gone on cable news and spoken to national media outlets to push against his party's most conservative elements, urging compromise, and frequently butting heads with Trump.

After Simmons publicly challenged Dent last week, Dent made public a series of text messages, showing that Simmons sought Dent's support in a previous primary race and questioned whether Trump could be removed from the Republican ticket, according to the (Allentown) Morning Call.

The decision follows a rally that took place in Dent's home state of Pennsylvania protesting Dent's ongoing obstruction of President Donald Trump.

Dent, in a later interview, largely confirmed the conversation. Dent said Thursday he began considering retirement after the 2013 government shutdown and had grown frustrated that even basic governance had become "exhausting".

His centrist standing was affirmed by praise from both Democrats and Republicans. "Right now there's only one retirement on the Republican side". "He left it all on the playing field".

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