U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry, perhaps North Carolina’s most influential congressional leader, will not run for re-election, he announced Tuesday.
McHenry gained national attention when he served as temporary House Speaker following the ouster of Kevin McCarthy in November. He chairs the House Financial Services Committee, a key post that oversees a wide swath of financial-oriented issues. McHenry had a reputation as a key confidante of McCarthy, who received strong opposition from more conservative Republicans.
McHenry, 48, was elected to Congress in 2004 at the age of 29. McHenry is a graduate of Ashbrook High School in Gastonia and has a bachelor’s degree from Belmont Abbey College. He and his wife, Giula, have homes in Denver in Lincoln County and in Washington, D.C. where Mrs. McHenry is chief of the Office of Economics and Analytics of the Federal Communications Commission
The surprise decision immediately prompted Gastonia resident Patrick Harrigan to run for Congress in the 10th District, represented by McHenry, rather than the 14th district. Harrigan was planning to face off in a GOP primary with N.C. House Speaker Tim Moore in the 14th District. Moore is leaving his state post to run for Congress.
Here is McHenry’s statement about his decision:
I will be retiring from Congress at the end of my current term. This is not a decision I come to lightly, but I believe there is a season for everything and — for me — this season has come to an end.
“Past, present, and future, the House of Representatives is the center of our American republic. Through good and bad, during the highest of days and the lowest, and from proud to infamous times, the House is the venue for our nation’s disagreements bound up in our hopes for a better tomorrow. It is a truly special place and—as an American—my service here is undoubtedly my proudest. Since being sworn in January 3rd 2005, I have worked everyday to uphold the Constitution and the system of government our founders so wisely created.
“Thank you to my bosses at home in western North Carolina for giving me the opportunity to serve you. I strived each day in this job to not let you down. Being entrusted as your voice in Washington is my highest honor and that remains true today. My goal has always been to be a voice for western North Carolina to Washington, not the other way around.
“I’m thankful for my staff—in DC and at home in NC—who have so ably served me during my time in the House. It has been an honor to work alongside you over the past two decades. They are gifted folks who have dedicated their careers to serving the people of western North Carolina and our nation.
“Throughout my years in the House, I’ve mentored and been mentored. I’ve learned from many, been taught lessons by others. I am proud to have been a legislator for nearly twenty years. The craft of legislating is an art and I’m thankful for all the members and staff who helped me hone that craft.
“As the youngest of five kids, I learned the best from my brothers and sisters. My family means the world to me. The center of that world is my wife Giulia. Together, we have three amazing kids who have made our lives all the better. I’m grateful for the sacrifices they’ve made supporting me as I’ve served in the House.
“There has been a great deal of handwringing and ink spilled about the future of this institution because some — like me —have decided to leave. Those concerns are exaggerated. I’ve seen a lot of change over twenty years. I truly feel this institution is on the verge of the next great turn. Whether it’s 1974, 1994, or 2010, we’ve seen the House evolve over time. Evolutions are often lumpy and disjointed but at each stage, new leaders emerge. There are many smart and capable members who remain, and others are on their way. I’m confident the House is in good hands.
“I look forward to what the next season brings for my family and me.”