Rep. Susan Brooks has decided not to seek reelection in 2020, a stunning blow for House Republicans who had chosen her to lead recruitment in their attempt to claw back the majority.
The Indiana Republican will leave after her fourth term in the House, where she has been a rare moderate voice in a GOP that has veered sharply to the right under President Donald Trump. She has also been a vocal advocate for helping to elect Republican women to the House, where she is currently one of just 13.
Story Continued Below
The decision — which came as a surprise to many in Republican and Democratic circles — creates an opening for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which is targeting her seat for the first time this year.
Brooks told The Indianapolis Star, which first reported the news on Friday, that she may be asked to step down from her recruitment position in the House GOP campaign arm. On her decision not to run, Brooks told the Star it was “not about the politics.”
“While it may not be time for the party, it’s time for me personally,” Brooks said. “This really is not about the party. It’s not about the politics. It’s just about, ‘How do I want to spend the next chapter of my life?’”
In a statement, Brooks argued it was time for new leadership in her district.
“With gratitude for all that I’ve accomplished, I believe in term limits and in the power of new talent,” she said, adding that she would “guarantee a Republican victory” for her seat.
Brooks won her district by about 14 points last fall, and Donald Trump had won it by 12 points in 2016.
But Democrats believe the district — which has been held by Republicans since the ‘90s — could be swinging in their favor, with a younger and wealthier voting base.
Republicans initially scoffed when the DCCC added Brooks to a “Retirement watch” list earlier this year.
“Democrats adding Susan Brooks to a retirement list is almost as laughable as their Green New Deal,” Camille Gallo, a spokesperson for the National Republican Congressional Committee, said in February.
Brooks has long touted herself as one of the most bipartisan members of Congress, with a role in the Problem Solvers Caucus. But she has also overwhelmingly voted with Trump since he took office.