Wisconsin Congressman Gallagher Chooses House Over Senate Bid in 2024

Wisconsin Congressman Gallagher Chooses House Over Senate Bid in 2024
Chairman Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) listens during a hearing of a special House committee dedicated to countering the Chinese Communist Party, on Capitol Hill, in Washington, on Feb. 28, 2023. (Alex Brandon/AP Photo)
Savannah Hulsey Pointer

Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) announced on June 9 that he will seek reelection to the House and not challenge Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) for the U.S. Senate in 2024, leaving the GOP field in the swing state open.

Gallagher was the most prominent Republican rumored to be contemplating a run against Baldwin, who is seeking a third term after a 2018 victory by 11 points. Baldwin is regarded as a formidable opponent due to her impressive performance six years ago, her high profile throughout the state, and her fundraising prowess.

Democrats are defending 23 Senate seats in 2024, including two held by independents who caucus with the Democrats and Baldwin's seat. This is in contrast to the 10 seats that Republicans hope to retain.

The other senator from Wisconsin, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), narrowly won a third term in November 2022. However, Baldwin's race is thought likely to be a close one, as she will be on the ballot in a presidential election year in a state where four of the previous six presidential elections were decided by less than one percent.

The announcement was made the day before Baldwin and other Wisconsin Democrats gathered in Green Bay for their annual state convention. Republicans are gathering in La Crosse beginning on June 16.

Several other Republicans are mulling a run against Baldwin, but none have made an official announcement.

Gallagher's Focus

"As the representative of Northeast Wisconsin and Chairman of the Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party, I have a rare, bipartisan opportunity in the 118th Congress to help restore American strength, prevent war in the Pacific, and defend our basic freedoms from communist aggression," Gallagher said in a press release regarding his 2024 plans.

"Accomplishing this mission and serving Wisconsin's 8th District deserve my undivided attention. Therefore, I will not run for the Senate in 2024 and will pursue reelection to the House."

"I believe that when we look back in 50 years, the American people will ask: Did our elected leaders rally as a country and confront the Chinese Communist Party threat before it was too late?" the lawmaker went on. "Continuing to lead this fight in the House of Representatives is the best way for me to help answer that question affirmatively."

The Wisconsin representative has left no question about his mission in Congress. The Republican made it clear he hopes to help counter the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) influence in the United States.

At a June 7 meeting of the Global Leadership Coalition, Gallagher questioned U.S. Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns as to whether American leadership is up to the task of competing with the CCP economically and militarily.

"The first and most obvious point is that if you want to win the competition, you actually have to show up," Gallagher said.

"There are certain areas where we're not even competing because competing implies there are two sides that show up and are engaged in some sort of match. We haven't even shown up in some areas."

According to Gallagher, the Biden administration appeared excessively eager to pursue the type of economic engagement with the CCP that precipitated the current crisis in Sino-American relations.

To get out of this struggle, he said, the administration must do more to connect its diplomatic and military influence in the Indo-Pacific in order to actively defend its interests when engagement fails, and to find the "right mix of sticks and carrots."

Primary Possibilities

Gallagher's decision to withdraw from the race leaves Republicans facing the possibility of another close party primary.

Rep. Tom Tiffany (R-Wis.), who has represented northern Wisconsin in Congress since winning a special election in May 2020, has been consulting with Republicans across the state in preparation for a possible Senate bid.

Tiffany is an ardent supporter of former President Donald Trump and voted against certifying election results in Arizona and Pennsylvania as a member of Congress on Jan. 6, 2021.

Tiffany also joined a Republican lawsuit filed in Texas with the U.S. Supreme Court that would have thrown out Wisconsin's presidential ballots and allowed the state's Republican-controlled legislature to determine the election.

Also contemplating a Senate run are Madison businessman Eric Hovde, who lost the Republican Senate primary in 2018, Franklin industrialist Scott Mayer, and former Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, a staunch Trump supporter.

Elsewhere, Senate candidacies are being considered by a number of high-profile politicians, including Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), who is "seriously considering" a run for retiring Sen. Ben Cardin's (D-Md.) Senate seat in 2024
Nevada Republican and Trump ally Jim Marchant in early May declared his candidacy for a Senate seat in Nevada in 2024, entering a crucial contest in the battleground state against Democratic incumbent Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.).
However, Rep. Warren Davidson (R-Ohio) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) both announced in May that they would not be running for Senate in the upcoming election cycle.

Gallagher's office did not immediately respond to The Epoch Times's request for comment.

The Associated Press and Andrew Thornebrooke contributed to this report.