HARRISBURG (AP) — Republican Rep. Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania says he’ll resign from Congress in the coming weeks, after the leader of an influential caucus of GOP moderates announced last year that he wouldn’t seek re-election.
The seven-term Dent didn’t give a precise departure date in Tuesday’s statement. He said he’d made the decision after discussing it with his family and careful reflection.
Dent’s been a frequent critic of President Donald Trump and polarization and dysfunction on Capitol Hill.
Gov. Tom Wolf will have 10 days from Dent’s resignation date to set a special election, which must be at least 60 days out.
Dent’s district was redrawn earlier this year under court order and it’s now considered a toss-up in November’s election. Republicans and Democrats are headed for contested primaries May 15 to replace Dent.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf issued a statement on the expected resignation of Dent. Wolf thanked Dent for his service to the country and commonwealth.
“Charlie Dent is a voice of reason and civility that breaks through the chaos and partisanship of Washington and he will be missed,” Wolf said. “I thank Rep. Dent for his service to our country and commonwealth. While we do not agree on everything, Charlie has always been approachable, and he has always put his constituents above partisan politics. I am proud to have worked with Rep. Dent to make improvements in the Lehigh Valley and advance our constituents’ shared interests in Washington.”
Pennsylvania’s Election Code requires the governor to issue a writ when the vacancy occurs during a session of Congress or if the vacancy occurs at a time when Congress shall be required to meet any time prior to the next general election.
The governor must issue the writ within 10 days of the vacancy to set the special election date. The date of the election must not be sooner than 60 days after the governor issues the writ.
Candidates would be nominated by the parties in accordance with party rules. Political bodies may nominate by circulating and filing nomination papers. The winner of the special election fills the balance of term.