The 76-year-old Republican, who is the second-most senior member of the House, announced Wednesday that he will not be seeking reelection in 2020. He will serve out the rest of his 21st term in Congress, which ends in January 2021.
“I think the time has come to basically turn over the page in the 5th District,” Sensenbrenner told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “I think this is the best time for me personally, and for both the Republican Party and for me politically,” he added.
The Wisconsin congressman, whose largely Republican district includes parts of Milwaukee, is the 13th Republican set to leave the House in the 2020 cycle. Rep. Bill Flores (R-Texas) announced earlier Wednesday that he would not seek another term. So far three Democrats have also decided to step aside.
The wave of Republican retirements opens up spots for Democrats to potentially
Sensenbrenner, who was a former chair of the House Judiciary Committee, was best known for being one of the authors of the Patriot Act, legislation after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that dramatically expanded government surveillance capabilities.