KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — U.S. Rep. Fred Upton says a number of reasons led to his decision not to run for a nineteenth term in Congress, and one big one was his new district.
Upton, R-St. Joseph, announced Tuesday that he would not seek reelection to the body he has served in since 1987.
Asked about his reasons Wednesday, he began with the newly drawn boundaries of Michigan’s congressional districts.
“A federal judge panel ruled only last Friday that the district lines were going to stick. Frankly, I’m from St. Joe. They took many of my St. Joe supporters, voters and they put it in the district now with Lake Erie,” Upton told News 8.
Had he not dropped out, the stage would have been set for a hotly contested primary with U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-Zeeland, who was drawn into the same district.
“I think we were poised to win. It would’ve been a doozy of a campaign, that’s for sure. I’m not ever shying away from that,” Upton said. “But at some point, you just have to say, it’s been a great, great book… I walk away with no regrets.”
Currently, Huizenga is the only Republican candidate who has filed to run in the newly drawn 4th District. Upton says he hasn’t had the chance to speak with Huizenga since his announcement, nor has he given any thought into endorsing him.
Before beginning his tenure as representative in 1987, Upton worked as a congressional staffer and in the White House under President Ronald Reagan, who he says cared less about who got the credit.
“Reagan taught me a big lesson: Republican president, a Democratic Congress and yet he got things done. We had double-digit inflation back then. We had the Cold War with Russia, a lot of different issues. He won 49 states when he was reelected in 1984,” Upton said. “The only way you’re going to get things done… is if you reach across the aisle and work together.”
In response to former President Donald Trump’s statement gloating over Upton’s retirement, Upton says the Republican Party needs to “look forward and not backward” to survive.
“The ex-president keeps talking, literally almost every day, about how the election was stolen. It wasn’t,” Upton said. “It’s a 154,000-vote difference here in Michigan. It was a Republican state Senate investigation that actually looked and canvassed the election, come up with a report. They found no evidence. There wasn’t anything close to overturning that 154,000-vote margin. And yet, the (former) president still talks about it.”
Upton was among 10 Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives who voted to impeach Trump over the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol.
Asked what’s next for him, Upton said he plans to spend time with his family and golfing. But he also said he wasn’t quitting, that “there’s another chapter” and “this year is not done.”