Last Monday seven term congressman John Shadegg (R-Az.) surprised Republicans by announcing that he will not seek re-election this fall. "It is time to seek a new challenge in a different venue," said Shadegg. But just days after his announcement Shadegg may now reconsider after receiving an unprecedented letter signed by more than 140 of his House GOP colleagues pleading for him to stay.
The letter was spearheaded by Rep. Mike Pence (R.-Ind). Pence — like Shadegg — is a former chairman of the Republican Study Committee.
“Dear John,” it reads “as your colleagues, your fellow conservatives, and your friends, we sincerely ask that you reconsider your decision to retire from Congress.”
“John, you continue to inspire, embolden, and lead. The Republican Conference needs you here, the Conservative Movement needs you here, and the country needs you here.”
"I made this effort because, as Lincoln said of Grant, I cannot spare the man: he fights,” Pence told HUMAN EVENTS after the letter was released.
The letter (which can be read here) was circulating on Capitol Hill before Shadegg had officially received it. Shadegg was away with his family for the holiday weekend.
Shadegg’s staff told HUMAN EVENTS that “the congressman has said that he owes it to the people who wrote the letter to weigh out the decision very carefully…the letter was unprecedented and unexpected.”
HUMAN EVENTS Political editor John Gizzi reported this weekend that soon influential conservatives outside of congress will also ask Shadegg to stay. “One source, who requested anonymity, confirmed to me that following a private meeting of the conservatives soon after Shadegg’s exodus became public, that another letter to John was being drafted and it is expected to reach him early next week,” wrote Gizzi.
Shadegg is the 22nd House Republican to announce his retirement this cycle.
The effort to convince Shadegg to stay is uncommon, and not just flattery. House Republicans believe they can’t afford to lose people such as Shadegg, Arizona Republicans may have other ideas. If Shadegg gets back into the competition, he may face a stiff primary challenge.