SALT LAKE CITY — After weeks of mulling a possible reelection run, the representative for Utah’s 1st Congressional District will officially retire at the end of his term.
Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, told the Standard-Examiner on Monday afternoon that he will not seek reelection in Congress to represent much of northern Utah at the federal level.
The news comes weeks after a report indicated the representative was contemplating running for the position once more.
“I was surprised at the number of people who called me and asked me to reconsider,” Bishop said Monday. Among those to reach out were local policymakers, county commissioners and even some colleagues in Washington, he said.
Bishop first affirmed his intent to retire during a meeting with the Deseret News’ editorial board on Monday morning, according to the Salt Lake City newspaper.
Bishop, who has been the elected representative for Utah’s 1st District since 2002, said during a 2017 town hall event in Layton that if reelected in 2018, that would be his final term in Congress. He went on to win reelection.
However, Bishop says his retirement plans were made long before the town hall in Davis County. He first planned his tentative retirement date when he was being groomed to take over the chairman position for the House in 2012, he said. He said that once his ability to serve in a leadership position was done, he would be done.
“I’m a little disappointed no one was listening,” he said.
Bishop, who served as the chairman of the House Natural Resource Committee from 2014 to this year, will no longer be eligible for a leadership position in early 2021, which would be among the final days of his run in Congress.
As far as what’s next for the congressman of 17 years, Bishop said he has been considering the possibility of entering the governor’s race in 2020, but that decision is far from being made, he said.
Bishop said it took him a significant amount of time to decide on his future in Congress, and the decision regarding the governor’s race will require the same amount of consideration.
“I already have one picture hanging up in the (Utah) State Capitol, I don’t need another one just to say I have it,” Bishop said.
The congressman has also been considering becoming a teacher once more. For 28 years, Bishop was a high school teacher at Box Elder and Ben Lomond high schools before retiring and becoming a member of Congress in 2003.
Bishop said that he believes in term limits, both for himself and Congress as a whole. By the time his official term is up in 2021, Bishop will have served nine terms, 18 years in Washington.
“It was the right time to retire,” Bishop said.
In the hours since Bishop’s retirement became official, two local elected officials have floated the ideas of running for his seat.
Katie Witt, the current mayor of Kaysville, announced an explanatory committee for a possible run at Congress. Witt has served as the mayor of Kaysville since 2017.
“Kaysville Mayor Katie Witt is strongly considering running for Congress because she is committed to preserving freedom, expanding opportunity for all Northern Utahns, and reigniting American patriotism to empower citizens to live their best lives,” Witt’s congressional explanatory stated in a press release Monday.
Another local official who announced her consideration into running for Congress is Tina Cannon, a current member of the Morgan County Council.
“Over the next few days, my family and I will prayerfully consider our next steps,” Cannon said in a press release Monday. “One thing I know is that we need a fearless conservative who will step up and govern the way they campaign – putting Utah people, principles and values first.”
The 1st Congressional District covers Weber County, as well as northern Davis County and eight other counties in northern and northeastern Utah.