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Longtime Michigan GOP Rep. Fred Upton announces his retirement

Rep. Fred Upton, seen here outside of the Capitol in May 2017, announced Tuesday he will not seek reelection.
Zach Gibson
Getty Images
Rep. Fred Upton, seen here outside of the Capitol in May 2017, announced Tuesday he will not seek reelection.

Updated April 5, 2022 at 12:18 PM ET

Longtime Michigan Rep. Fred Upton, one of the 10 House Republicans to vote to impeach former President Donald Trump after the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, announced Tuesday he will not seek reelection.

"Even the best stories has a last chapter. This is it for me," Upton said in emotional remarks on the House floor.

"As a former Boy Scout, I believe in leaving the campground better than one found it," Upton said. "I've worked with seven administrations, seven House speakers — none of them would call me a rubber stamp. If it's good policy for Michigan, it's good enough for all of us."

Upton, first elected in 1986, is one of the longest-tenured Republicans in the House. He previously chaired the House Energy and Commerce Committee and garnered a reputation for working with members across the aisle.

"He treats everyone equally, doesn't matter if there's a 'D' or 'R' next to your name," Rep. Tony Cárdenas, D-Calif., told NPR last year after competing with Upton in a congressional brewing competition.

Upton serves as vice chair of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, which on Tuesday he said "pushed the envelope to get things done, taking on some complex and often-controversial issues that others may want to just sweep under the rug."

He cited the "real, honest-to-goodness infrastructure bill" as one of his legislative achievements, adding it "passed 69-30 in the Senate, but then hit the rocks here in the House, barely surviving Trump's opposition despite his call for a proposal twice as expensive with no pay-fors."

Upton received death threats after voting for the infrastructure deal. In a November 2021 appearance on CNN, Upton played the audio of one of the calls.

"You're a f***ing piece of s*** traitor. I hope you die, I hope everybody in your f***ing family dies," the caller said.

Impeachment and Trump

Of the 10 GOP members who voted to impeach Trump, Upton is the fourth to announce his retirement, following Ohio Rep. Anthony Gonzalez, Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger and New York Rep. John Katko.

Of his impeachment vote, Upton said in a statement at the time, "our country cannot and will not tolerate any effort by any president to impede the peaceful transfer of power."

In a statement Tuesday celebrating the congressman's announcement, Trump said: "UPTON QUITS! 4 down and 6 to go. Others losing badly, who's next?"

After the state's congressional redistricting, Upton was placed in a Western Michigan district with fellow Republican Rep. Bill Huizenga. Trump has endorsed Huizenga.

It was unclear whether Upton would run for reelection in the redrawn district.

In an ad that aired earlier this year, Upton said he's "not afraid to take on anyone when they're wrong and work with anyone when they're right."

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Barbara Sprunt is a producer on NPR's Washington desk, where she reports and produces breaking news and feature political content. She formerly produced the NPR Politics Podcast and got her start in radio at as an intern on NPR's Weekend All Things Considered and Tell Me More with Michel Martin. She is an alumnus of the Paul Miller Reporting Fellowship at the National Press Foundation. She is a graduate of American University in Washington, D.C., and a Pennsylvania native.