Two Republican members of Congress blasted their own party on Tuesday, and one announced he was so disillusioned that he would not stand for reelection.
Rep. Steve LaTourette, R-Ohio, said that he would officially withdraw from the race next Wednesday, saying members of Congress had become “more interested in fighting with each other” than getting things done. Rep. Richard Hanna, R-N.Y., said that Republicans were beholden to the “extremes” in their party.
LaTourette, a moderate, pro-union Republican, cited the House’s foot-dragging on the Transportation bill as a sign of growing dysfunction in the body.
“We’re talking about about building roads and bridges for Chrissakes,” he told the Washington Post. LaTourette said members of Congress meant to give financial and political support to extremes, and he was tired of it.
“I have reached the conclusion that the atmosphere today and the reality that exists in the House of Representatives no longer encourages the finding of common ground,” he said.
While LaTourette criticized both Democrats and Republicans, Hanna saved his sharpest attacks for his fellow Republicans.
“I have to say that I’m frustrated by how much we — I mean the Republican Party — are willing to give deferential treatment to our extremes in this moment in history,” Hanna told the Syracuse Post-Standard. Hanna cited Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., for her attacks on State Department aide Huma Abedin.
“We render ourselves incapable of governing when all we do is take severe sides,” Hanna said. “If all people do is go down there and join a team, and the team is invested in winning and you have something that looks very similar to the shirts and the skins, there’s not a lot of value there.”
While Hanna said there were extremists on both sides, he said he had “friends” in the Democratic caucus, and that they were “much more congenial — a little less angry.”
Hanna, like LaTourette, is considered a moderate in his party. He defeated a tea party challenger in a primary earlier in the summer, and will face Democrat and former congressional aide Dan Lamb in November.
LaTourette’s decision to wait to withdraw until next week will allow Republicans in Ohio to select a replacement for him on the ballot. While LaTourette’s district is winnable for Democrats, the only candidate currently running is Dale Blanchard, who lost badly to LaTourette in 2000 and 2002.
Image Credit: U.S. House of Representatives