In 2017 Rep. Rob Bishop said he would retire if he won re-election to Congress in 2018. Now, it appears Bishop may be rethinking that decision.
Several sources close to Bishop tell UtahPolicy.com he has not made a final determination about running for another term in Washington in 2020. He has reportedly been telling close associates and other supporters he intends to make a final determination about whether he’ll retire from Congress next year or run for a 10th term in Washington either by the end of the summer or early September.
“He’s been telling people the thought that he’ll retire may be a bit premature,” said a close associate of Bishop.
Bishop told a town hall meeting in August of 2017 that his current term would be his last. “Someone will replace me, and they will be just as good,” said Bishop. “One more term. That’s it.”
Why would Bishop backtrack on what seemed to be, at least at the time, a definitive statement?
“I think it’s buyers remorse,” said one ally of the congressman. “The same thing happened with Jim Hansen (Bishop’s predecessor). He decided to retire from Congress, then wondered if he was doing the right thing.”
Hansen ended up running for governor in 2004 but ended up losing the GOP nomination to Jon Huntsman. Like Hansen, Bishop has been linked to a possible gubernatorial run in 2020.
One big factor in Bishop’s decision is which party ends up in control of the House following the 2020 elections.
“I can tell you, he absolutely hates being in the minority,” said a longtime advisor to Bishop. “If he thinks Republicans can retake control, he may decide to run again.”
Devin Wiser, Bishop’s chief of staff, seemingly confirmed that the congressman has been having second thoughts about calling it quits when this term is up, but he stressed that Bishop is not thinking about that right now.
“Rep. Bishop has been surprised by how many folks in Utah have approached him, asking him to run again to represent the 1st district. Much of the rationale is compelling and deserves consideration. But, for the time being, the Congressman is wholly focused on the 116th Congress,” he said in an email.
Wiser also said he would expect Bishop to make a final decision about his political future in late summer or early fall.
On Wednesday, UtahPolicy.com reported several Republicans are considering running to replace Bishop next year, including Rep. Logan Wilde, R-Croydon, Rep. Stephen Handy, R-Layton, businessman Bruce Hough and Utah Credit Union Association President and CEO Scott Simpson. Wilde said he is likely to jump into the race, but it all depends on whether Bishop decides to retire.