U.S. Rep. Paul Cook of California announced on Tuesday that he will not seek reelection in 2020, adding his name to the wave of GOP departures that have shaken his party and given hopes to Democrats to flip several seats.
The four-term lawmaker is one of more than a dozen Republicans to announce their retirement in recent weeks. In a statement, he said he planned to run for the San Bernardino Board of Supervisors, The Los Angeles Times reported.
“Serving in Congress has been an absolute honor, and I’m proud of my numerous victories amid a tough partisan atmosphere,” he said in a statement. “Our high desert needs continued strong leadership at the county level, and I pledge to fight for this area with the same dedication and conviction I’ve demonstrated my entire career.”
Cook, a Marine Corps veteran, serves on the House Armed Services and Natural Resources committees and previously served in the California State Assembly. He was first elected to represent California’s 8th Congressional District in 2012.
He won reelection in 2018 against a Tea Party challenger with 60 percent of the vote.
Cook’s seat is likely to stay in Republican control because of the district’s conservative lean. President Trump won the district in 2016 by more than 54 percent of the vote.
California State Assemblyman Jay Obernolte said he will seek to replace Cook.
Democrats flipped several House seats last year and are looking to expand the party’s majority in the chamber. Several of the GOP departures are in states being targeted by Democrats, like Texas.