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Republicans' Recruiter Stuns Party by Retiring from House

Susan Brooks is one of 13 GOP women in chamber
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 14, 2019 3:35 PM CDT
Rep. Susan Brooks, right, talks with constituents. She's leaving Congress at the end of her term.   (Jeff Morehead/The Chronicle-Tribune via AP)

(Newser) – This won't help her numbers: The congresswoman leading her party's effort to put more Republican women in office has decided to leave the House. Rep. Susan Brooks is one of 13 GOP women on the House side; 89 House Democrats are women, per the Washington Post. Brooks, who represents a district north of Indianapolis, is in her fourth term. "While it may not be time for the party, it's time for me personally," she told USA Today on Friday. Brooks said she has no plans to run for another office. Her retirement stunned party leaders. "I have no idea what they’re going to do" about the recruitment job, said Brooks, 58. That became clear later in the day, per the Post, when GOP leaders asked her to stay in it through 2020.

Democrats were less surprised. They had Brooks on a retirement watch list and say her suburban district is the sort they did well in last time, though she won re-election by 14 percentage points. On Friday, Republicans praised Brooks, with one saying "she played an instrumental role in leaving our new Republican majority far more diverse than it was when she found it." But her Democratic counterpart in recruiting said Brooks' decision reflects the challenge facing her party. "As the ranks of women in the House Republican caucus continues to shrink," Cheri Bustos said, "it must be disappointing to lose such a strong advocate for Republican women." (Read more women in office stories.)

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