Washington: The fifth Republican congressman in two weeks is set to step down as the GOP reportedly fears a wave of retirements amid ongoing tension in the party over Donald Trump’s presidency.
Representative Mike Conaway will not seek re-election to his Texas seat in 2020, according to Politico, but has not confirmed his decision or his reason for retiring.
However, House Republicans are reportedly worried that the difficulties of serving under Mr Trump and working with a Democratic majority in Congress will lead to more exits.
“Serving in the era of Trump has few rewards. He has made an already hostile political environment worse,” Tom Davis, a former senior Republican congressman, told The Hill.
“Every day there is some indefensible tweet or comment to defend or explain. It is exhausting and often embarrassing.”
Mr Conaway, who has served in Congress for 15 years, will join Republican representatives Paul Mitchell, Pete Olson, Martha Roby and Rob Bishop in announcing his retirement.
Mr Mitchell’s resignation was spurred by his frustration with partisan fighting and the “rhetoric and vitriol” in US politics, according to The Hill.
However, he did not explicitly attribute blame to the president.
Ms Roby said she would not vote for Mr Trump in 2016 as his behaviour had been “unacceptable as a candidate for president” but has since improved their relationship and received an endorsement from him in 2018.
The Republican Party is facing a difficult task in reclaiming the House in 2020 after Democrats were victorious in last year’s midterm elections.
Mr Trump’s approval ratings remain low, currently at about 43 per cent on average, and his divisive political agenda could prove costly in congressional elections next year.
Mr Conaway, Mr Mitchell, Ms Roby and Mr Bishop all represent safe Republican districts that are expected to pick GOP candidates in 2020.
However, Mr Olson’s district could be competitive, as the Texas congressman saw his majority cut to 5 per cent in 2018.
Even in safe districts, the prospect of returning to the House in 2020 may be unappealing for many conservative representatives as Democrats are expected to win a majority again next year.