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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Republican U.S. Representative Bob Gibbs announced his sudden retirement Wednesday, declaring himself a victim of the “circus” on Ohio’s still-unresolved congressional map.
The six-term congressman from Amish Country is leaving a primary race in northeast Ohio that, under new temporary cards, would have pitted him against Trump-backed Republican Max Miller.
Early voting is already underway.
Miller was originally recruited to defeat U.S. Representative Anthony Gonzalez, who joined a handful of other Republicans who voted to impeach the former Republican president. Gonzalez has since retired.
In a statement, Gibbs said “nearly 90% of the electorate” in the new 7th congressional district where he would be required to run is new, with nearly two-thirds coming from another district “foreign to any waiting or connecting” to the district it currently serves.
Trump weighed in to congratulate Gibbs on “a wonderful and accomplished career.” He called Gibbs a strong ally in his America First program and the fight against “the radical left.”
“Thank you for your service, Bob – a job well done!” Trump said in a statement.
Calling the decision to retire difficult, Gibbs called it irresponsible “to effectively confirm the Congressional map for this election cycle seven days before voting begins.”
He appeared to refer to a March 30 procedural decision by the Ohio Supreme Court, which extended the schedule of briefings for the legal challenge to the Ohio Congressional map well after that primary. year.
However, congressional constituencies for the 2022 elections had in fact been set since March 2. That’s when Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose, the state’s chief election officer, ordered county election boards to mirror the Ohio Redistricting Commission’s second congressional map. on the ballots.
Gibbs said he thinks Ohio’s prospects are bright “despite the circus redistricting.”
“These lengthy and drawn-out processes, in which the Ohio Supreme Court can take weeks and months to deliberate while requiring answers and filings from litigants within days, are detrimental to the state and do not serve the people of Ohio,” he said.
The High Court’s bipartisan majority, made up of Republican Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor and three Democrats, has been engaged in a long back-and-forth with the Republican-controlled redistricting commission for months.
In response to lawsuits by voting rights and Democratic groups, judges rejected four plans and counted for legislative and congressional lines, each declaring an unconstitutional gerrymander that unduly favors Republicans.
Their face-off continues to escalate.
As the justices consider a request to scorn the mapmakers for their repeated failure to draw lines consistent with the constitution, Republicans who control the state legislature are seriously considering filing impeachment proceedings against O’Connor.
Gibbs is the 17th House Republican to say he will not seek re-election, against 30 Democrats. His term runs until January 2023.
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