Hours after the not-so-surprising announcement Tuesday morning by Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., that he would not seek reelection next year, Michigan sources agreed that the veteran lawmaker opted for retirement rather than face what he himself concluded was certain defeat.
Along with his vote to impeach former President Donald Trump last year, Upton was severely hurt by the redrawing of his former 6th District to merge it with larger portions of the former 2nd District held by the more conservative Republican Rep. Bill Huizenga.
With a lifetime American Conservative Union rating of 89%, six-termer Huizenga, 53, has long made it clear he would seek reelection in the new 4th District regardless of what the more moderate (lifetime ACU rating: 68%) Upton decided to do.
"Upton ran TV ads the past few weeks, obviously trying to gauge his strength and name recognition in the new 4th District," Bill Ballenger, editor of the Ballenger Report on Michigan politics, told Newsmax. "Private polling showed him getting clobbered by Huizenga. That's the end of the story."
Like the nine other Republicans who voted to impeach him, Trump had sworn revenge on Upton and had endorsed Huizenga weeks ago. Last fall, the former president gave his blessing to state Rep. Steve Carra. A first-term legislator who vigorously sought an audit of the votes cast by Michigan in the close 2020 presidential contest, Carra had been challenging Upton in the old 6th District.
Whether he will run now in a new district, with Upton out, remains to be seen.
At 68, Upton is the third-senior Republican in the House as well as the fourth pro-impeachment Republican lawmaker to announce his retirement.
"Fred was a dedicated public servant who always did what he thought was right for Michigan and the country," former state GOP Chairman Saul Anuzis told Newsmax. "But his politics tended to be more moderate than the primary electorate had evolved to be and every reelection became a greater and greater challenge."
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
© 2022 Newsmax. All rights reserved.