Five-term Rep. Tom Marino is ditching Congress less than three weeks into his new term, he announced Thursday.
The Pennsylvania Republican, who was reelected by a landslide in November’s midterms, will step down Jan. 23 to take a job in the private sector, he said.
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“Having spent over two decades serving the public, I have chosen to take a position in the private sector where I can use both my legal and business experience to create jobs around the nation,” Marino said in a statement.
Marino represents Pennsylvania’s 12th District, which stretches from the outskirts of Harrisburg and State College, the home of Penn State University, to Pennsylvania’s border with New York.
The district is heavily Republican: Marino won reelection in 2018 by over 30 points, and President Donald Trump carried it by an even greater margin in the 2016 presidential election.
His retirement will trigger a special election for the open seat, which is considered safely Republican.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, will be responsible for setting the date for a special election. State law gives Wolf wide latitude for setting the date, but it has to be at least 60 days after Marino’s resignation.
Marino served as a U.S. attorney in Pennsylvania under President George W. Bush before returning to private legal practice. He was first elected to the House in 2010, and was one of Trump’s earliest boosters in Congress, backing him in the GOP primary and contributing to his electoral success in Pennsylvania.
Marino was nominated in 2017 to be the White House’s federal drug czar, a post tasked in part with crafting a response to the opioid crisis, but withdrew after a damning report from The Washington Post and “60 Minutes” showed that he advocated for legislation that would make it harder for the Drug Enforcement Administration to freeze suspicious opioid shipments, a win for drug distributors.