Tags: 2020 Elections | greg walden | republicans | 2020 election

Greg Walden Is 22nd House Republican to Quit in 2020

Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore.
Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call via AP)

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Tuesday, 29 October 2019 11:05 AM Current | Bio | Archive

In a move that surprised most Oregon Republicans and most of his Republican colleagues in the House, Rep. Greg Walden announced late Monday afternoon that he would not seek re-election in 2020.

The announcement by Walden, after 22 years in the House and a stint as chairman of the powerful House Energy Committee, appeared to be confirmation of a growing feeling among GOP lawmakers that they are not going to retake control of the House.

Walden, 62, is so far the 22nd House Republican to their announce retirement, resignation, or pursuit of another office ahead of the 2020 election. In sharp contrast, only seven House Democrats are headed for the exit sign.

To those who have known him a long time, such as this reporter, Walden's explanation that he wanted to "close the public service chapter of my career" was a bit surprising. The Oregonian loved, lived, and breathed politics — a feeling this reporter got when we first met in 1981.

Walden was a 24-year-old press secretary to then-Rep. Denny Smith, R-Ore., and was already eyeing a bid for office back home. After rising to become Smith's chief of staff, he won a seat in the state House of Representatives in 1988, moved to the state Senate six years later, was chosen as assistant majority leader, and then won his first term in Congress in 1998.

As in most of the House seats relinquished by Republicans, Walden's 5th District (Salem-Klamath Falls) is solidly in GOP hands. Since it was first created in 1982, the 5th has never elected a Democrat congressman.

Hours after Walden's announcement, all eyes were on former State Sen. and stalwart conservative Jason Atkinson as his Republican successor.

"My phone has been ringing off the hook with people urging me to run," Atkinson told Newsmax on Monday. "I'm going to take a look at it and make a decision in a few weeks."

Atkinson, 48, is the son of former State Republican Chairman Perry Atkinson, who was the runner-up to Walden in the crowded GOP primary for the seat in 1998. Jason Atkinson himself ran for governor in 2006 and, while unsuccessful, he retained a strong following among grassroots conservatives and especially among the state's pro-life movement.

More moderate Republicans have suggested physician and 2018 gubernatorial nominee Dr. Knute Buehler as a candidate. But political observers also told us Buehler ran a less-than-dynamic campaign against Democratic Gov. Kate Brown and would be an easy target for Atkinson.

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

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In a move that surprised most Oregon Republicans and most of his Republican colleagues in the House, Rep. Greg Walden announced late Monday afternoon that he would not seek re-election in 2020.
greg walden, republicans, 2020 election
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2019-05-29
Tuesday, 29 October 2019 11:05 AM
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