MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Republican U.S. Rep. Martha Roby of Alabama announced Friday that she will not run for reelection in 2020, making her the second House GOP woman to announce she will not seek another term.
While Roby’s southeast Alabama district is largely considered a safe Republican seat, the retirements of Roby and Rep. Susan Brooks, R-Ind., are a problem for the party, which is battling its overwhelming dominance by white males and has struggled to attract female voters. Only 13 of the House’s 197 representatives are women. In contrast, 89 of the 235 Democrats are women.
Roby, a five-term congresswoman from Montgomery, did not give a specific reason for her departure. In a statement, she said she will be forever grateful to the people of Alabama’s Second District and during her tenure they have delivered “incredible results for our military, veterans, agriculture community and the unborn.”
“Throughout my five terms in Congress, I have cast every vote with the guiding principle that Alabama always comes first,” Roby said in a statement.
“We are not finished yet. While my name will not be on the ballot in 2020, I remain committed to continuing the fight for Alabama and the people I represent until I cast my last vote on the floor of the United States House of Representatives.”
Roby did not comment on her future plans.
Roby was first elected in 2010. She drew a slate of primary challengers in 2018 after angering some Republicans in 2016 when she said Trump’s lewd comments about women — captured on an “Access Hollywood” tape — made him unacceptable as a candidate. But Roby easily won both the primary runoff and the general election.
Roby was the third GOP lawmaker to announce their retirement this week and the sixth so far this year. Reps. Paul Mitchell of Michigan and Texas’ Pete Olson also said they would not run for reelection.
Three Democratic representatives are not running for reelection. One of them, New Mexico’s Ben Ray Lujan, is running for Senate.
Republicans will need to gain 18 seats to win House control in November 2020. Democrats control the chamber 235-197, with one independent and two vacancies.
Associated Press Writer Alan Fram contributed to this report.