In a statement issued Saturday, Gallegly said he and his wife had decided "now was the right time to begin the next chapter in our lives."
Gallegly did not mention it in his statement, but redistricting likely played a role in his decision to step aside. After California's legislature drew up new congressional maps, Gallegly found his home residing in the district currently held by Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), who chairs the House Armed Services Committee.
Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Tex.), who chairs the National Republican Congressional Committee, praised Gallegly for his decades of service.
"The House of Representatives will miss Elton’s service, expertise and experience as he concludes his congressional work after this Congress," he said in a statement. "I wish Elton, his wife Janice and their family all the best."
Gallegly is the vice chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, and heads the Judiciary Committee's subcommittee on immigration, where he has carved out a niche as a strong opponent of illegal immigration.