Rep. Robert S. Walker, R-Pa., a trusted ally of House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., unexpectedly announced Friday he would not run for re-election after 20 years in Congress.
Also Friday, conservative Democratic Rep. Pete Geren of Texas said he would retire, bringing to 27 the number of House members who are not seeking new terms next fall. Of those retiring, 19 are Democrats, making their party’s effort to regain a majority in the 1996 elections that much more difficult. There are 236 Republicans, 197 Democrats and one independent in the House.
Walker said his decision, reached last weekend with his wife, Sue, was driven by a desire to do something beyond Capitol Hill, where he has worked since arriving in Washington 25 years ago as a House aide. “I really do believe it’s time for me to go do something else with my life,” he said. “I’ve accomplished much of what I said I was going to do 20 years ago.”
Walker said he has not “explored any specific new employment.”