On the heels of former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s departure from Congress, Rep. Bill Johnson (R-Ohio) is planning an earlier-than-expected departure this month to become president of Youngstown State University.
Johnson’s resignation will leave House Republicans down yet another vote as they try to pass key spending bills with a razor-thin majority.
Republicans will be down to just 219 seats to Democrats’ 213 once Johnson leaves.
Johnson formally submitted his letter of resignation on Tuesday, according to a letter sent out by YSU Board of Trustees chair Michael Peterson.
Peterson said Johnson’s resignation will take effect on Jan. 21, and that he will begin work at the university the next day.
“With his contract indicating he would start prior to March 15, 2024, we are excited to have him on campus earlier than anticipated,” Peterson added.
Johnson’s planned exit comes amid a historic deluge of retirements from House members in both parties.
At least two dozen Democrats and more than a dozen Republicans are planning to leave Congress this year.
Many lawmakers have cited burnout from the recent chaos and longstanding dysfunction in Congress as key factors.
A relative moderate in the House GOP conference, Johnson is a member of the centrist Republican Governance Group, the pragmatist Main Street Caucus and the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus.
Johnson was also a McCarthy supporter, lamenting the former speaker’s ouster in October: “Kevin McCarthy should have never been deposed from the speakers’ seat,” Johnson said at the time.
Several events in February could further shift the House’s seat math.
Rep. Brian Higgins (D-N.Y.) is planning to step down to take a role at a performing arts center in his Buffalo-based district.
The special election to replace former Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.), who was expelled last month, will take place Feb. 13.