LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Republican Rep. Dave Trott of Michigan said Monday he will not run for re-election, marking the third Republican congressman in less than a week to announce his retirement.
The second-term congressman's departure will give Democrats a better shot at winning his GOP-leaning district in suburban Detroit.
Trott expressed frustration with President Donald Trump in August, after Trump declared "both sides" were to blame for violence during a white supremacist rally in Virginia. Trott tweeted the next day: "I think America needs more unity and less divisiveness ... meaning @realDonaldTrump should focus more on golf & have less press conferences."
Trott, a 56-year-old member of the House Financial Services Committee, did not touch on those frustrations in his Monday statement announcing his retirement.
"This was not an easy decision, but after careful consideration, I have decided that the best course for me is to spend more time with my family and return to the private sector," the attorney said.
He said the Founding Fathers "envisioned a government where citizens leave private life, serve for a brief time, and then return home to their communities."
Reps. Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania and Dave Reichert of Washington state said last week that they, too, would step down at the end of their terms.
Trott, of Birmingham, first won his congressional seat in 2014 by defeating freshman Republican Kerry Bentivolio during the primary election. Trott, whose family real estate finance law firm specializes in foreclosures, spent millions of dollars of his own money on the race and secured backing from business groups and others in the GOP establishment.
Bentivolio, labeled an "accidental" congressman, won the seat in 2012 after the Republican incumbent, Thad McCotter, was knocked off the ballot due to fraudulent petition signatures. Trott was re-elected in 2016 by 13 percentage points over Anil Kumar but with 53 percent of the total vote — the lowest share in any of Michigan's 14 House races.
The 11th Congressional District includes parts of Oakland and Wayne counties and is the kind of suburban seat with more college-educated voters that Democrats already were hoping to seize in the 2018 midterm elections. They have criticized Trott's support for the House health care bill that would have repealed and replaced former President Barack Obama's signature law.
Two former female members of the Obama administration have already said they are running for the seat — Treasury official Haley Stevens, who worked on the auto bailout, and Homeland Security adviser Fayrouz Saad, who helped coordinate the response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Trott's announcement may prompt more Democrats such as state Rep. Tim Greimel to jump in. Democratic businessman Dan Haberman is strongly considering a bid, too.
A slew of Republicans are expected to consider running, though none formally expressed interest on the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks. Contenders could include Rocky Raczkowski, who has run for both the U.S. House and Senate, and state lawmakers Marty Knollenberg, Mike Kowall, Laura Cox and others.
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