Oregon GOP Rep. Greg Walden won't seek reelection

Rep. Greg WaldenGregory (Greg) Paul WaldenOvernight Energy: Trump rolls back Obama-era fuel efficiency standards | Controversial Keystone XL construction to proceed | Pressure mounts to close national parks amid pandemic Infrastructure bill gains new steam as coronavirus worsens Critics blast Trump mileage rollback, citing environment and health concerns MORE (Ore.), the top Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, announced Monday he will not run for another term in Congress, making him the latest GOP lawmaker to head for the doors as 2020 approaches.

“I will not seek re-election to the U.S. House of Representatives, nor election to any other office, but instead I will close the public service chapter of my life,” Walden said in a statement.

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The announcement adds to the challenges facing House Republicans as they try to win back the majority next year. Walden is the 20th Republican to say he will forgo reelection to the House in 2020, compared with just seven Democrats.

Walden is also the fifth Republican in a top committee post to announce retirement plans this year. He joins Rep. Mac ThornberryWilliam (Mac) McClellan ThornberryTop Armed Services Republican unveils proposals on military families, acquisition reform House panel delays consideration of annual defense policy bill Congressionally created commission recommends requiring that women register for draft MORE (Texas) from the Armed Services Committee, Rep. Rob BishopRobert (Rob) William BishopWhere do we go from here? Conservation can show the way Overnight Energy: Panel gives chairman power to subpoena Interior | House passes bill to protect wilderness | House Republicans propose carbon capture bill | Ocasio-Cortez introduces bill to ban fracking House Natural Resources gives Grijalva power to subpoena Interior MORE (Utah) on the Natural Resources Committee, Rep. Mike ConawayKenneth (Mike) Michael ConawayLive coverage: Democrats, Republicans seek to win PR battle in final House impeachment hearing Laughter erupts at hearing after Democrat fires back: Trump 'has 5 Pinocchios on a daily basis' Live coverage: Schiff closes with speech highlighting claims of Trump's corruption MORE (Texas) from the Agriculture Committee and Rep. Kenny MarchantKenny Ewell MarchantLatina underdog for Texas House seat picks up steam Texas kicks off critical battle for House control Gun control group plans to spend million in Texas in 2020 MORE (Texas) on the Ethics Committee.

Unlike other ranking members, Walden was eligible for another two-year term as the top Republican on his committee.

Walden, 62, was first elected to the House in 1998 after serving in the Oregon House of Representatives and Oregon Senate. He also previously owned and operated multiple radio stations.

The Oregon Republican easily won his reelection in 2018. The district is expected to stay in GOP hands.

“Based on recent polling, strong fundraising, and the backing of my wife and family, I am confident I could earn the support of 2nd District voters for another term,” Walden said. “I’m also optimistic that a path exists for Republicans to recapture a majority in the House, and that I could return for two more years as chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. But I also know that for me, the time has come to pursue new challenges and opportunities.”

During his tenure in the House, Walden served two terms as chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, for the 2014 and 2016 election cycles. Republicans maintained control of the House in both election years.

As chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, which has primary jurisdiction over health care issues in the House, Walden played a key role in the GOP's efforts to repeal and replace ObamaCare in 2017.

He led a 27-hour markup of a bill that would repeal and replace ObamaCare, and the measure was passed the GOP-controlled House but went nowhere in the Senate. Congress failed to repeal the 2010 health care law, marking a bitter defeat for Walden and the party.

Further legislative efforts to attack ObamaCare were sidelined after Democrats regained control of the House in the 2018 midterms and Rep. Frank Pallone Jr.Frank Joseph PalloneOvernight Health Care — Presented by That's Medicaid — Deal on surprise medical bills faces obstacles | House GOP unveils rival drug pricing measure ahead of Pelosi vote | Justices to hear case over billions in ObamaCare payments Obstacles remain for deal on surprise medical bills This week: House impeachment inquiry hits crucial stretch MORE (D-N.J.) took the reins of the committee.

Walden was also instrumental in last year's passage of bipartisan legislation aimed at combatting the opioid epidemic.

Some have speculated Walden could succeed Gordon Smith as head of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB). The group has denied there are any plans for Smith to step down.

“Greg’s career has been defined by success — as a committed local broadcaster, as a bipartisan political bridge builder, and as a brilliant legislator,” Smith said in a statement. “Congress is a better place because of Greg Walden, and I’m certain he will make a positive difference in whatever path his future may hold.”

Scott Wong and Jessie Hellman contributed.

Updated at 2:22 p.m.