Rep. John Katko (R-N.Y.), one of the 10 Republicans in the House of Representatives to vote to impeach former President Trump in the wake of the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol, announced on Friday that he will not seek reelection. Katko is only the latest in a string of anti-Trump Republicans to push the ejector button as the party pressures dissenters to fall in line.
“My conscience, principles, and commitment to do what’s right have guided every decision I’ve made as a member of Congress, and they guide my decision today,” Katko, who at 59 is relatively young by congressional standards, said in a statement. He noted his desire to “enjoy my family and life in a fuller and more present way.”
The announcement comes just a week after Politico published a sprawling profile of Katko headlined, “Does John Katko Have the Secret to Thwarting Trump?” The piece ran down Katko’s sins in the eyes of the new Republican Party, including acknowledging the legitimacy of the 2020 election, voting to impeach Trump following Jan. 6, voting to strip Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) of her committee assignments for her rhetoric, voting for President Biden’s infrastructure plan, and more. Splitting with Trump and the wrath that it incurred portended a tough 2022 reelection campaign, but Politico noted that Katko still had a good chance to hold onto his seat for a fifth term.
“So much for that,” Michael Kruse, who wrote the story, tweeted after Katko’s announcement on Friday.
Three of the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump last January have now announced they will not seek reelection. Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-Ohio), only 37, announced in September that he would not be running in 2022, calling Trump a “cancer for the country.” A month later, Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), 43, announced that he too would be calling it quits. Kinzinger, one of the most vocal Trump critics in the GOP, is one of two Republicans serving on the Jan. 6 committee. “In this day, to prevail or survive, you must belong to a tribe,” he said in his announcement video, adding that parties are “appealing to the most motivated and the most extreme elements within it.”
This isn’t good news for Katko, whom Politico noted rates as one of the most middle-of-the-road lawmakers in Congress. He and every other Republican who has dared to defy Trump has realized with terrifying clarity this year that there’s no longer room for moderation in the GOP.