GOP Crisis Deepens With Rep.'s SURPRISING Resignation

By Lisa Pelgin | Sunday, 24 March 2024 04:30 PM
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In a surprising turn of events, Wisconsin Republican Representative Mike Gallagher announced his resignation from his House seat on Friday, effective from April 19.

Despite previously stating that he would not be seeking re-election, Gallagher's reasons for his early departure remain undisclosed.

The unexpected resignation of Gallagher has significant implications for the House Republicans. To ensure the passage of any measure, they must now vote in absolute unison, without any crossover votes from Democrats. This development puts the Republicans in a precarious position, as Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., can only afford to lose one GOP lawmaker on any vote that falls along party lines. This situation is likely to persist until June, when a special election is scheduled to replace ex-Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio.

However, before this, there is an April 30 special election to replace Rep. Brian Higgins, D-N.Y., a long-serving left-wing lawmaker who left office earlier this year. This election is expected to see Democrats increase their numbers, maintaining the House majority by a single seat.

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The timing of Gallagher's resignation has sparked intrigue, particularly in light of recent reports suggesting that more resignations may be forthcoming. Interestingly, Gallagher was not among the names mentioned in these reports, indicating that the situation could potentially worsen before it improves.

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In a cryptic statement, Colorado Republican Ken Buck, who also recently resigned, hinted at the possibility of more departures. When questioned about the lack of prior notice given to Speaker Johnson or Majority Leader Scalise regarding his resignation, Buck responded, "I think it's the next three people that leave that they're going to be worried about." The identities of these three individuals remain unknown, although speculation suggests they may be among those who have announced their retirement.

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Adding to the complexity of the situation are Wisconsin's election laws concerning the timing of special elections for House vacancies. According to the Wisconsin code section, "Regulations on Special Elections," part 4(b), a vacancy occurring prior to the 2nd Tuesday in April in the year of the general election should be filled at a special primary and election. A vacancy occurring between the 2nd Tuesday in April and the 2nd Tuesday in May should be filled at the partisan primary and general election.

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Gallagher's resignation, scheduled for April 19th, falls within the deadline for a special election. This effectively deprives the House GOP of a potential Republican vote until the general election, rather than in a special election. The rationale behind this decision remains unclear, although it appears to be a calculated move. If Gallagher had announced his resignation as effective immediately, a new Republican Representative could have been seated months before the new Congress takes office in January 2025.

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This development places the Republican control of the House of Representatives on a precarious balance at a time of significant intra-party conflict. The outcome of this fall's election, the number of open seats that will appear between now and then, and the potential victory of former President Trump will all play a crucial role in determining the future of the GOP.

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The possibility of a second Trump administration dealing with one or both houses of Congress in Democrat hands could potentially lead to a repeat of the impeachment proceedings at the end of President Trump's first term. With the precedent set, it's hard to envision Congressional Democrats behaving with any more dignity in 2025 than they did in 2019-2021.

In these uncertain times, when every vote is critical, the GOP majority in the House can't afford to get any narrower.

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