Rep. Gregg Harper, a Mississippi Republican who is chairman of the Committee on House Administration, said Thursday he’ll retire this year, making him the fifth GOP House committee chairman to not seek re-election in 2018.
The other four chairmen are: Pennsylvania’s Bill Shuster of the Transportation Committee; Virginia’s Bob Goodlatte of the Judiciary Committee; Texas’s Jeb Hensarling of the Financial Services Committee; and Texas’s Lamar Smith of the Science, Space and Technology Committee. Diane Black also said she’d step down from leading the Budget Committee to run for governor of Tennessee.
Even if the House remains under GOP control, some of these chairmen would have to relinquish their gavels next year because Republicans limit terms for leading committees. This would not be the case with Harper, because he took over the administration panel at the beginning of the 115th Congress.
“I never intended for this to be a career, and it will soon be time for another conservative citizen legislator to represent us,” Harper said in a statement. “I will work hard over the final 12 months of my term this year, but I will not seek re-election for a sixth term.”
Harper has been the front man for the House’s response to harassment allegations, tasked by Speaker Paul Ryan with reviewing policies for awareness training and reporting abuse. The Committee on House Administration also oversees federal elections, and Harper voted with his fellow Republicans last year to end the Election Assistance Commission, which helps states improve their voting systems.
Some Republicans have chosen to remain as rank-and-file members after exhausting their chairmanship terms, such as California’s Darrell Issa, who formerly ran the Oversight Committee, Kentucky’s Hal Rogers, who used to run the Appropriations Committee, and New York’s Peter King, who led the Homeland Security panel.