Rep. Mark Meadows, who represents part of western North Carolina, announced on Thursday that he will not run for re-election in 2020.
“For everything there is a season. After prayerful consideration and discussion with family, today I’m announcing that my time serving Western North Carolina in Congress will come to a close at the end of this term, Meadows said. He added “This was a decision I struggled with greatly.”
It is widely assumed that Meadows is in line for a top White House job after he retires. As one of the most visible Trump supporters, his loyalist credentials would serve him well working close to the president. He may even be in line for Trump’s chief of staff, although it’s assumed that the president will fill that slot before January.
“My work with President Trump and his administration is only beginning,” Meadows added. “This President has accomplished incredible results for the country in just 3 years, and I’m fully committed to staying in the fight with him and his team to build on those successes and deliver on his promises for the years to come. I’ve always said Congress is a temporary job, but the fight to return Washington, DC to its rightful owner, We The People, has only just begun.”
The announcement came a day before the North Carolina filing deadline, forcing him to make the decision now. Unlike some in the North Carolina congressional delegation, Meadows was not affected much by the state’s newly released congressional map. His 11th District is expected to remain solidly in the GOP ranks.
Meadows was chairman of the influential House Freedom Caucus during Donald Trump’s first two years in office and has been a thorn in the side of the Republican leadership since his arrival in Washington. He called for the resignation of former Speaker John Boehner and has been highly critical of current Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
But North Carolina Senator Richard Burr is up for re-election in 2022 and raising his profile by working for Trump might give Meadows a leg up if Burr decides to retire.
Of course, Mitch McConnell’s blessing would help.
However, despite Meadows’s claim that he wasn’t running for Burr’s seat, he offered up unusual praise for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell over the Kentucky Republican’s early handling of chatter related to a Senate impeachment trial that is expected to start next month. Even Meadows considered the praise noteworthy.
“I’m very confident that Leader McConnell will move properly. Maybe that’s the biggest headline,” Meadows said before offering up his own headline: “Past Freedom Caucus chairman supports Leader McConnell in an unequivocal manner.”
Politics is a strange game, isn’t it?