House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) announced Wednesday that he will not seek re-election this fall, making him just the latest of more than two dozen Congressional Republicans who have decided against running for another term.
Ryan’s departure leaves 24 Republican-held seats open for the 2018 midterms. Another three Republican senators are also not seeking re-election.
The resignations mark the largest combined number of incumbents from a single party to step down since 1996, when 28 left Congress. It also exceeds the 21 who resigned during the Watergate scandal in 1974.
Many attribute their decision to leave Congress to the hyper-polarized environment, poor approval ratings and difficulties the Trump administration has created for Republicans in re-election campaigns. Republican lawmakers were more likely to resign or retire if Trump was less popular in their district in 2016.