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Vox Sentences: Republicans are retiring from Congress in droves

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Dozens of congressional Republicans are announcing retirement; another boat carrying migrants from the Middle East capsizes in the Mediterranean.

The great Republican exodus of 2018 is taking shape

Trey Gowdy Mark Wilson/Getty Images
  • Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) is the latest House Republican to announce he is retiring. Gowdy said he wouldn’t seek reelection on Wednesday. [USA Today / Deirdre Shesgreen]
  • Gowdy’s announcement sent shock waves throughout Washington; he’s the powerful House Oversight Committee chair who conducted investigations on Benghazi. The reason he’s leaving? He’s sick of politics. [Politico / Rachael Bade]
  • Gowdy is not the only one; Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ), the chair of the Appropriations Committee, also announced this week that he’s retiring. [ / Brent Johnson and Jonathan D. Salant]
  • Republicans are leaving the House in droves: 21 Congress members have announced they’re leaving, while three senators have said the same. They’re leaving a lot of open seats in their wake, which presents a huge political opportunity for Democrats. [Vox / Andrew Prokop]
  • As a matter of fact, House Republicans are leaving at a higher rate than we’ve seen in a decade. While many aren’t saying publicly that their frustrations with politics in the era of Trump are spurring their departures, it’s hard to ignore the coincidence. [FiveThirtyEight / Nathaniel Rakich]
  • There are other frustrations too. Being the chair of a committee doesn’t hold as much power as it used to because so many of today’s legislative decisions are dictated by leadership in the House and Senate. And with Republicans staring down severe losses in the House next year, some are looking to get out while they still can. [Vox / Tara Golshan]
  • The number of Democratic Congress members who have announced they’re retiring, meanwhile, is in the single digits, and this gives them an edge in House races. There’s also a chance (albeit with difficult odds) that they could take back a majority in the Senate. [Atlantic / Russell Berman]

Another boat carrying migrants capsizes in the Mediterranean

  • An estimated 90 to 100 migrants are reported to have been on board a boat when it capsized off the coast of Libya on Friday, IOM, the United Nations migration agency, reported. [Reuters / Stephanie Nebehay and Ahmed Elumami]
  • Information provided by three survivors that had not been verified indicated most of the victims are from Pakistan, according to Olivia Headon, a spokesperson for the IOM. Headon said that eight of the 10 bodies from the boat that had washed up on the Libyan coast were Pakistani. [NYT / Nick Cumming-Bruce and Declan Walsh]
  • This latest tragedy comes after 6,624 migrants and refugees had entered Europe by sea as of January 28. A similar period in 2017 saw 5,983 come ashore. [IOM]
  • In another incident last weekend, more than 32 people are thought to have died when their boat began taking on water as it crossed the Mediterranean from Libya. Others on board were rescued. [NPR / Laurel Wamsley]


  • The stock market apparently couldn’t wait for the weekend: The S&P 500 stock index is on track for its worst week since February 2016. [NYT / Matt Phillips]
  • One museum in the UK is trying to use the absence of a painting to provoke a conversation about the male gaze. Instead, museumgoers are having a conversation about the sudden presence of a blank wall. [Quartz / Thu-Huong Ha]
  • There’s a lot to be amazed by at the Olympics in terms of athleticism alone, but the effort that goes into getting the games ready for competitors shouldn’t be overlooked. Consider the case of making all that snow. [Smithsonian / Maya Wei-Haas]
  • Ever accidentally-on-purpose forgotten to ring up a grocery item at self-checkout? You aren’t alone. [Atlantic / Rene Chun]


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