Upton announced his retirement in a speech on the House floor Tuesday morning. Speaking to reporters afterward, Upton pointed to redistricting as a key factor in his decision to retire, rather than backlash he faced over his impeachment vote.
“My district was cut like Zorro — three different ways,” the Michigan Republican told reporters. “So I’ve been here 36 years. When I first ran, I thought I’d be here 10.”
“I got a lot of unfinished business that I’m going to be working on now. … But no, this was our decision, independent of what I did with Trump,” added Upton, who was first elected in 1986.
Trump endorsed a Republican primary challenger against Upton, state Rep. Steve Carra. But Carra later dropped out, and Trump switched his endorsement to GOP Rep. Bill Huizenga, as redistricting put Upton on a collision course with Huizenga for the newly drawn district.
For a time, it appeared that running in the redrawn district was Upton’s plan. He turned in a big fundraising quarter to end 2021, and he spent more than $400,000 in early 2022 to air a TV ad in which he declared, “I’m not afraid to take on anyone when they’re wrong and work with anyone who’s right.”
“If you want a rubber stamp as your congressman, I’m the wrong guy,” Upton continued in the ad, which touted his work in Congress on taxes, law enforcement and fighting diseases.
Upton, who previously chaired the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee, leaves behind a record of bipartisan legislation. He cited the 21st Century Cures Act as his biggest accomplishment, which he said survived a Senate filibuster and paved the way for the FDA to approve vaccines for Covid.
“That’s probably our biggest achievement,” Upton said.
He was accompanied by his close friend, Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.), on the House floor while delivering his speech, as he pointed to his next chapter with his family.
“Debbie was my first call,” said Upton. “She didn’t answer.”
“I didn’t want to get the news,” she replied.