Top House Energy and Commerce Republican Greg Walden to Retire

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(Bloomberg) -- Representative Greg Walden of Oregon, the top Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee and former chairman of the panel, announced Monday he won’t run for re-election next year.

Walden, 62, joins an exodus of GOP lawmakers from the House since Democrats took control of the chamber in the 2018 election. So far, the top Republicans on the Agriculture, Defense, and Natural Resources committees have all announced retirements.

Top House Energy and Commerce Republican Greg Walden to Retire

The lawmaker served as chairman of House Republicans’ campaign committee for the 2014 and 2016 elections. The only remaining Republican in the Oregon delegation, Walden was first elected in 1998.

He’s the 19th Republican to announce plans to leave the House, four of whom are seeking other offices. By comparison, seven Democrats have announced they are retiring or running for another office.

Walden said in a statement that although he’s “optimistic that a path exists for Republicans to recapture a majority in the House” in 2020, he decided that “for me, the time has come to pursue new challenges and opportunities.”

Walden’s district is solidly Republican. He was regularly re-elected with two-thirds or more of the vote, and President Donald Trump won the district in 2016 with 55%.

The Energy and Commerce Committee oversees health care, telecommunications, energy and environmental policymaking. Among his achievements, he cited passage of legislation to deal with the opioid crisis, expand broadband service and improve the health of forests.

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