Rep. Donalds ‘Very Concerned’ as House GOP Majority Shrinks Again

Florida Congressman Byron Donalds (R) says he is “very concerned” that Republicans could soon lose their majority in the U.S. House following another early departure last week. Since January, Republicans have governed in the House with a single-digit majority. A slew of mid-term retirements and the expulsion of Rep. George Santos means the GOP now faces just a one-vote margin of error.

“You can go as far back as when [former House Speaker] Kevin McCarthy was vacated, there have been some members on Capitol Hill who are basically just throwing up their hands,” Donalds told Newsmax in an interview Tuesday. “I think that’s wrong.”

“I think that if you’re going to run for office, you have a responsibility to your district to stay and finish that job until the end of your term and then make another decision. You can choose not to run for reelection. There are members that do that all the time.”

The GOP’s majority in the House has shrunk dramatically since the expulsion of Santos and the early retirement of ousted former Speaker Kevin McCarthy in December. Since then, three more GOP members announced their departure–the latest being Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin, who is expected to retire on April 19.

“Leaving in the middle of your term is a serious, serious matter,” Donalds said before adding in some optimism. “I’m a little concerned about the majority, but we’re going to get through this like we’ve gotten through everything else.”

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Not all GOP members share Donald’s hopefulness, however. Gallagher’s retirement date means it will be too late for Republicans to hold a special election for the district before November. Over the weekend, Georgia Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene called for Speaker Mike Johnson to expel Gallagher and open up a chance to reclaim the seat.

“Any strong Republican speaker of the House would expel a member for leaving our razor-thin majority in such a delicate, delicate state,” Greene told Fox News on Sunday.

Republican Florida Congresswoman Anna Paulina Luna expressed similar frustration in a Fox News interview, calling the spate of retirements a “disservice” to the American people.

“When you are seeing people intentionally leave in order to prevent primaries from happening so those seats can be filled, I just think that they’re doing the American people disservice,” Luna said. “You are really only screwing over the Republican Party — the American people.”

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At the same time, the GOP has faced dwindling numbers; House Democrats have managed to increase their vote share. At the start of the 118th Congress in January 2023, Republicans governed by a margin of 222 to 212. After Gallagher’s retirement, that margin will shift to 217 to 213, with Democrats expected to pick up a 214th seat following an April special election in New York.

Gallagher faced criticism from his colleagues in February after he voted against the impeachment of Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. In an interview with the Washington Post, however, Gallagher said it was a non-factor in his decision to retire and that his mind had been made up long ago.

“We have two young daughters, and we want to have more kids, and this lifestyle sucks for a young family,” Gallagher told the Post. “That was the main thing.”

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