Ros-Lehtinen, a Republican Lawmaker and Critic of Trump, Announces Retirement

Reuters

U.S. Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a moderate Republican from South Florida who has been critical of President Donald Trump, plans to retire when her term is up next year, according to an interview she gave on Sunday to the Miami Herald.

The decision by Ros-Lehtinen not to seek re-election could give Democrats a chance to pick up a seat in the 2018 congressional election. Her district has increasingly leaned Democratic, and Democrat Hillary Clinton, Trump's opponent, won it by 20 percentage points in the 2016 presidential election.

Ros-Lehtinen, 64, declined to endorse Trump during the White House race and differed with him on issues such as immigration. She balked at supporting the proposed Obamacare replacement legislation that the president backed.

Trending: Mike Pence Claims Trump U-Turn on NATO Came Because ‘NATO Changed’

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen

U.S. Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) speaks to the media before attending a closed meeting for members of Congress on the situation in Syria at the U.S. Capitol in Washington September 1, 2013. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Sunday tests showed that sarin nerve gas was used in a deadly August 21 chemical attack near Damascus as he sought to build the case to convince skeptical lawmakers to authorize a military strike against the Syrian government. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

Ros-Lehtinen, who was born in Havana, became the first Cuban-American and the first Hispanic woman elected to Congress in 1989.

The veteran Republican congresswoman had fended off a challenge in 2016 from Democrat Scott Fuhrman. Fuhrman has said he plans to run again for the seat in 2018, when all of the members of the House of Representatives and one-third of the U.S. Senate will face re-election. Trump's Republicans currently control both the House and Senate.

Don't miss: Uproar Over Bret Stephens Climate Column Underscores Rigidity of Thought Among Liberals

After the Miami Herald article was published, Fuhrman tweeted that he wished Ros-Lehtinen "all the best in retirement" and thanked her for "decades of public service" to the community.

Ros-Lehtinen told the newspaper that her decision was motivated by a desire to seek new challenges in her life and did not stem from concern that she would not be re-elected.

"There was no epiphany," she said. "There was no moment, nothing that has happened that I've said, 'I've got to move on.'"

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the campaign arm for Democrats in the House of Representatives, said in a statement that Ros-Lehtinen's plans to retire were a recognition that she was vulnerable. It is "all but guaranteed" that the seat will go to a Democrat when she leaves, the committee said.

More from Newsweek

By using Yahoo you agree that Yahoo and partners may use Cookies for personalisation and other purposes