Rep. John Katko (R-NY), the top Republican on the powerful House Homeland Security Committee, announced Friday that he will not seek a fifth term in November.
The 59-year-old Katko, a moderate GOPer who has represented the Syracuse-centered 24th Congressional District since 2015, said in a statement that he wanted to spend more time with his family after 32 years in public service.
“Over the course of the past three years, my wife Robin and I buried all four of our parents,” Katko said. “To say that those gut-wrenching times provided life-changing perspective for me is putting it mildly.”
Katko was one of the most influential centrists in the House, serving as chair of the moderate Tuesday Group and the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus.
His independent streak at times led to pushback from some within his party. Katko voted to impeach former President Donald Trump on a charge of incitement of insurrection following last year’s Capitol riot and is the third of the 10 pro-impeachment Republicans to announce he would not run again.
“Great news, another one bites the dust,” Trump exulted in a statement. “Katko, from Upstate New York, is gone!”
This past fall, Katko triggered more outrage from conservatives by being one of 13 Republicans to vote in favor of a bipartisan $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill.
In his retirement statement, Katko described his time in Congress as “rewarding in ways I never thought possible.”
“My conscience, principles, and commitment to do what’s right have guided every decision I’ve made as a Member of Congress, and they guide my decision today,” he said. “It is how I’ve been able to unite people to solve problems, and how I was rewarded with resounding victories in every single campaign for Congress.”
Prior to his election to the House in 2014, Katko worked as a senior trial attorney for the Securities and Exchange Commission and an assistant US attorney for the Department of Justice.
Katko is the 13th House Republican to announce they will not contest their seat in November, joining 26 Democrats who have also announced their intention to retire or seek other elected office. His district is expected to be redrawn to be significantly more favorable to Democrats, posing a potential recruiting challenge for the GOP.
“Katko is probably the only Republican who could hold the seat, especially if Dems redraw the district to be much bluer,” tweeted Cook Political Report forecaster Dave Wasserman.
The redistricting process, in which New York loses a House seat ahead of the 2022 midterms, could also have forced Katko into a district with another GOP incumbent, like Claudia Tenney of the neighboring 22nd District.