House Judiciary chairman announces retirement

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob GoodlatteRobert (Bob) William GoodlatteRosenstein to testify before House Judiciary Committee next week Conservative pressure on Sessions grows Clock ticking down on NSA surveillance powers MORE (R-Va.) said Thursday that he will not seek reelection, becoming the latest in a string of GOP lawmaker retirements.

Goodlatte, 65, is the third term-limited House committee chairman to announce his plans to leave the chamber within the past week.

"With my time as Chairman of the Judiciary Committee ending in December 2018, this is a natural stepping-off point and an opportunity to begin a new chapter of my career and spend more time with my family, particularly my granddaughters," Goodlatte said in a letter to supporters.

Two other House committee chairmen, Reps. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and Jeb HensarlingThomas (Jeb) Jeb HensarlingRyan pledges 'entitlement reform' in 2018 Consumers need a hero, not a hack, to head the CFPB Right scrambles GOP budget strategy MORE (R-Texas), also announced last week that they will not seek reelection.

Hensarling chairs the House Financial Services Committee, while Smith leads the Science, Space and Technology panel.

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House GOP conference rules limit lawmakers to only serving up to three two-year terms as committee chairmen. Democrats do not apply such limits to their members.

Two other House Republicans, Reps. Ted PoeLloyd (Ted) Theodore PoeSeven Texas lawmakers leaving Congress means a younger, more diverse delegation Clock ticking down on NSA surveillance powers Mounting GOP retirements threaten House majority MORE (R-Texas) and Frank LoBiondoFrank Alo LoBiondoJuan Williams: The GOP has divided America The 13 House Republicans who voted against the GOP tax plan House passes sweeping tax bill in huge victory for GOP MORE (R-N.J.), earlier this week, also made their plans not to seek reelection public. 

Of the retirements announced in the past week, only LoBiondo’s southern New Jersey seat is expected to be competitive in next year’s elections.

Goodlatte’s western Virginia district, which spans most of the Shenandoah Valley to Roanoke, is expected to remain solidly in the GOP column. President Trump won the district by nearly 25 points in 2016.

Goodlatte’s retirement announcement came following the election for Virginia governor on Tuesday, which Democrat Ralph Northam won by 9 points.

But Goodlatte, who has served since 1993, was already considered a possible lawmaker who could opt not to seek reelection regardless of the Virginia election results, given that he would be term-limited as chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.

Before becoming chairman of the Judiciary panel in 2013, he led the House Agriculture Committee from 2003 to 2007.

Goodlatte brings the total number of House member retirements so far this year to 14, which is still below the historical average of 22 each election cycle. All but two of the 14 retiring House members are Republicans.
 
Former House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason ChaffetzJason ChaffetzDem demands documents from TSA after scathing security report Chaffetz replacement sworn in as House member Democrats expand House map after election victories MORE (R-Utah) resigned earlier this year to take a job at Fox News, while Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-Ohio) announced last month that he will leave Congress by the end of January to lead the Ohio Business Roundtable. 
 
Seventeen other lawmakers, roughly split between the two parties, are running for other office.
 
- This report was updated at 12 p.m.