Donald Trump has been regularly targeting the handful of House Republicans who voted to impeach him (as well as Mitt Romney, the lone GOP Senator to do so) and today he collected his most valuable head to date of that group: Michigan's Fred Upton, who has been in the House since I was in middle school, is retiring.
Longtime Michigan Republican U.S. Rep. Fred Upton is announcing Tuesday that he will retire from the House at the end of his term after nearly 36 years in office, ending speculation about his political future that had swirled for months.
The St. Joseph lawmaker made the announcement Tuesday morning on the House floor, bringing to a close months of indecision by Upton, who, at 68, is Michigan's most senior lawmaker in Congress — a moderate conservative first elected to the U.S. House in 1986.
"Even the best stories has a last chapter: This is it for me," Upton said.
In an email sent to supporters and friends Tuesday, Upton cited "very positive" poll numbers and sounded upbeat about his upcoming primary against U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga of Holland, but said he'd decided "it is time to pass the torch."
His retirement would be a substantial blow to Michigan's clout in the House of Representatives at a time when Republicans are poised to take back the majority in the fall midterm elections.
The St. Joseph Republican formerly chaired the influential House Energy and Commerce Committee and has served on House GOP leadership's powerful steering committee that determines committee assignments for lawmakers.
Jason Watts, an Upton ally and west Michigan-based political consultant, said Upton’s decision Tuesday represented him ending his distinguished career on his own terms.
Upton became a top target of former President Donald Trump last year after he and nine other House Republicans voted to impeach Trump following the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Despite death threats, Upton has stuck by that vote, defending it in the face of primary challenges and censures from county party leaders in his current district in southwest Michigan.
Then the state redistricting commission redid Michigan's political maps after the 2020 Census, and Upton was drawn into the new 4th District with Huizenga, who last month got Trump's "complete and total" endorsement in the primary contest.
Upton was crucified in public, his district destroyed, and facing a primary challenge he was rigged to lose. The Republicans who opposed Trump are being picked off, and Upton was the biggest target of them all. The entire Michigan GOP turned against their elder statesman because Donald Trump commanded his political execution.
The Republican party exists to serve Donald Trump, and Trump exists to serve his white supremacist masters.