Wisconsin Rep. Mike Gallagher, who broke with the Republican Party on an impeachment vote Tuesday—bringing him the threat of a primary challenge—announced Saturday that he's leaving Congress. Gallagher told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel he will enter the private sector instead of running for reelection in November and will work on national security goals and defense policy issues. His party had considered him a rising star and recruited him unsuccessfully to seek a Senate seat this election. The 39-year-old Marine veteran, who served in the Iraq War, said he'd always considered Congress "a deployment, not a career."
Gallagher chairs the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party, per Politico, and has been a prominent voice on cybersecurity matters. He's regularly outperformed Donald Trump in Wisconsin's 8th Congressional District, per the Wall Street Journal. And his main campaign committee ended 2023 with more than $4 million in cash, tops among House Republicans. He was one of three GOP members to vote against impeaching Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas this week. Gallagher also faced GOP wrath for declining to object to the 2020 presidential election results in Arizona and Pennsylvania. "I don't like angering people," he said of that time, "but I was able to get through it."
"Mike Gallagher calling it quits is about as stark an indictment of Republicans' inability to govern as you can get," a spokesman for Wisconsin's Democratic Party told NBC News. Former Rep. Peter Meijer of Michigan said the departure will hurt efforts to counter China and deal with AI and other cyber issues. He called Gallagher the "most thoughtful and intelligent member" he served with. Gallagher cast his decision as personal, saying the job isn't ideal if you're raising a family. "Trust me, Congress is no place to grow old," he posted. (More House Republicans stories.)