Veteran GOP lawmaker Westmoreland to retire
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Rep. Lynn WestmorelandLeon (Lynn) Acton WestmorelandJuan Williams: GOP to blame for civility's breakdown Veteran GOP lawmaker Westmoreland to retire GOP hits Clinton on email setup during Benghazi hearing MORE (R-Ga.), a member of the House Benghazi Committee, announced Thursday that he won’t seek reelection this year.

After serving in the House since 2005, Westmoreland said he felt it was time to move on.

“I believe it is time to pass the torch to our next conservative voice,” Westmoreland said in a statement.

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“Washington, D.C. is a much different environment in 2016 than when I was elected in 2004. I know all too well the challenges the new representative will face, and pledge to offer my support and guidance to the next candidate,” he added.

Westmoreland, a close ally of leadership, was selected by then-Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to serve on the House Select Committee on Benghazi in 2014. 

He also serves on the House Intelligence and Financial Services committees.

Westmoreland was part of a memorable 2006 interview with Stephen Colbert on the comedian’s “Better Know a District” segment. After noting Westmoreland had cosponsored a bill requiring the Ten Commandments to be displayed in the House and Senate, Colbert asked the lawmaker to name all ten commandments.
 
Westmoreland could only name three.

The Georgia Republican briefly flirted with running for Speaker last fall after House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) abruptly dropped out of the race. Westmoreland was among several House Republicans who said they were willing to throw their hats in the ring if Paul Ryan didn't run — which the now-Speaker ultimately did.

Asked by reporters in the Capitol what he will do next, Westmoreland joked: "You need help?"

He indicated that he might run for Georgia governor in 2018, telling WSB-Radio that "it’s something I would definitely consider."

Westmoreland is the third House member to announce their retirement since the start of 2016. Democratic Reps. Steve Israel (N.Y.) and Jim McDermott (Wash.) both said they wouldn't run for reelection earlier this week as well.

The west Georgia district Westmoreland represents is expected to remain in GOP control after this year's elections.

With Westmoreland's announcement, a total 19 House members have said they will retire at the end of this Congress. Another 14 House members are running for other offices.

Scott Wong contributed.