March 4, 2024

Representative Mike Gallagher (R-WI) has announced he will not seek re-election in November, citing personal and family reasons and stating his intent to remain active in political matters. Mr. Gallagher is currently chairman of the Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party.

Gallagher told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel he will leave Congress at the end of his current term to enter the private sector and spend more time with his young family. He said his future work will be in-line with his national security goals and focus on defense policy.

“I really just feel like I’ve accomplished much more than I even thought I could when I set out, and I firmly don’t believe that the best use for the next chapter of my career is staying in Congress for another decade,” Gallagher said in an interview.

“Even though my title may change, my job may change, my mission is always going to remain the same,” he said. “My mission is to prevent World War III. I’ve dedicated myself to restoring conventional deterrence in order to prevent a war with China, and so whatever I do next will be an extension of that mission.”

Issues with China, ranging from trade to military matters, including China’s attempts to increase its naval power and influence in the western Pacific, have been a matter of concern in Congress.

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In his announcement, Gallagher, who is 39, cited family concerns and his belief that government service should be a temporary thing, not a career:

Gallagher, 39, was first elected to Wisconsin’s 8th Congressional District in 2016 and quickly made foreign policy and attempts at congressional reform his focus. The former Marine and intelligence officer has argued for term limits and said his decision to leave stays true to that thought process. 

“I think that the institution is healthier when people serve for a period of time and then go home,” Gallagher said. He noted he has two young daughters and wants to grow his family.

It is unclear who Mr. Gallagher’s replacement will be in the November election. The Republican primary in Wisconsin is set for August 9th, and Gallagher was facing a primary challenge from Republican Shaun Clarmont, while the Democrats in the 8th Congressional District seem (at this point) poised to nominate former candidate Julie Hancock. Independent Paul Boucher and Libertarian Jacob VandenPlas are also polling in the double-digits in this race.

This announcement is doubtless disconcerting to House Republicans, who are at the moment clinging to a narrow seven-seat majority; even so, Rep. Gallagher won his re-election bid in 2022 by a margin of 72.2 percent of the vote to second-place finisher Paul Boucher’s 15.8 percent, so it’s probably a good assumption that this is a safe seat for the GOP. 

That said, it’s important to remember what happens when we assume. The Wisconsin GOP needs to pick their candidate carefully, especially in light of the ongoing legal fight over the redrawing of Wisconsin’s district map.

RedState will continue to watch this race and bring you updates as events warrant.