Indiana GOP Rep. Brooks says she won't seek reelection

Indiana GOP Rep. Brooks says she won't seek reelection
© Greg Nash

Rep. Susan BrooksSusan Wiant BrooksThe rise of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in 2019 Hispanic Democrats endorse Latina for open Indiana seat Trump shocks, earns GOP rebukes with Dingell remarks MORE (R-Ind.) said Friday that she will not seek reelection to a fifth term in 2020.

Brooks’s announcement is significant in that she is one of only 13 GOP women in the House and she heads recruitment for the House Republicans’ campaign arm this cycle as her party tries to take back the majority.

A key part of her new role is recruiting female candidates and trying to improve on the brutal 2018 cycle, when House Republicans added just one new GOP woman to their ranks.

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“While it may not be time for the party, it’s time for me personally,” Brooks told the Indianapolis Star.

“This really is not about the party. It’s not about the politics. It’s just about, 'How do I want to spend the next chapter of my life?' "

Brooks, the former deputy mayor of Indianapolis who served as a federal prosecutor under President George W. Bush, has represented Indiana’s 5th District since 2013. She was appointed Ethics Committee chairwoman by then-Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanWho should be the Democratic vice presidential candidate? The Pelosi administration It's not populism that's killing America's democracy MORE (R-Wis.) in the last Congress, taking on a usually thankless role of investigating allegations of wrongdoing against her own House colleagues.

Brooks wasn’t facing a tough reelection bid. She carried the district by 14 points in last year’s midterms, which saw dozens of her GOP colleagues defeated. Her wealthy, suburban district is reliably Republican; President TrumpDonald John TrumpPelosi eyes end of April to bring a fourth coronavirus relief bill to the floor NBA to contribute 1 million surgical masks to NY essential workers Private equity firm with ties to Kushner asks Trump administration to relax rules on loan program: report MORE won it handily in 2016.

But House Democrats had identified Brooks on their 2020 “retirement watch list.” She becomes the second House Republican to announce their retirement, joining Rep. Rob WoodallWilliam (Rob) Robert WoodallOmar endorses progressive Georgia Democrat running for House seat House candidate asks FEC to let her use campaign funds for health insurance House Democrats launch effort to register minority voters in key districts MORE (R-Ga.).

Brooks, 58, told USA Today that she will not seek any other elected offices and spend time with her family instead.

“I have no idea what they’re going to do,” she said Thursday of how party leaders' will fill her recruiting role.

But Rep. Tom EmmerThomas (Tom) Earl EmmerHouse Democratic campaign arm outraises GOP counterpart in February How campaigns are adapting to coronavirus Dems unlikely to subpoena Bolton MORE (R-Minn.), chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), said he had assurances that Brooks will remain in the recruitment role this cycle.

“Susan Brooks is a good friend and has been nothing short of phenomenal leading the NRCC’s candidate recruitment. I am very pleased that her decision to spend more time with her family after this election cycle will not affect her role heading up our recruitment efforts,” Emmer said in a statement.

“When we look back, Susan’s legacy will be that she played an instrumental role in leaving our new Republican majority far more diverse than it was when she found it,” he added. “Susan has assured me that she will be increasing her recruitment efforts, so we are full steam ahead.”

Sen. Todd YoungTodd Christopher YoungRand Paul's coronavirus diagnosis sends shockwaves through Senate GOP lukewarm on talk of airline bailout Trump, GOP scramble to keep economy from derailing MORE (R-Ind.), who previously served with Brooks in the House, called her a tireless advocate for Hoosiers.

“Whether it was working together to ensure that law enforcement officers have mental health support or to address the heroin and opioid epidemic, I knew I could count on her to get the job done,” Young said in a statement. “I admire her continued commitment to the next generation of leaders, especially her efforts to encourage more women to pursue leadership positions and elected office.”

Brooks has split with her party on a few significant votes.

In 2013, she voted to end a partial government shutdown and avoid a default on the national debt.

And last month, Brooks was one of eight Republicans in the House to side with Democrats on legislation banning anti-LGBT discrimination.

— Updated at 10:49 a.m.