Sarah May
February 4, 2024

NY Rep. Brian Higgins exits Congress, sets stage for special election

Fulfilling the plans he set into motion late last year, New York Democrat Rep. Brian Higgins took his leave of Congress on Friday, as the Buffalo News reports.

As a result, Gov. Kathy Hochul is now free to set a date for a special election in which voters will choose a replacement to fill the 26th Congressional District seat for the remainder of Higgins' term.

Time to leave

As The Hill noted when Higgins first announced his plans to depart the lower chamber, the now-former congressman cited his mounting frustration over the internal workings of the House, an institution to which he had devoted the preceding 19 years.

“I've always been a little impatient,” Higgins said, “and that trait has helped us deliver remarkable progress” for the community he has long served.

Higgins went on, “But the pace in Washington, D.C. can be slow and frustrating, especially this year.”

The Associated Press further noted Higgins' irritation with the state of things in the capital, saying, “Congress is not the institution that I went to 19 years ago. It's a very different place today.”

“We're spending more time doing less. And the American people aren't being served,” he added.

House composition in flux

With Higgins' resignation now having taken effect, the House will have a roster of 431 members and four current vacancies, as explains.

Under its current makeup, Republicans retain a narrow 219-212 partisan majority.

Though Hochul is required to call a special election within 10 days of Higgins' departure, and the date is likely to be set for late April, Democrats are expected to keep the seat.

Also on the docket for upcoming special elections are contests in New York's Third District, where a replacement for Republican George Santos will be selected, in California's 20th District, which needs a successor for former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, and in Ohio's Sixth District, which recently saw the resignation of Rep. Bill Johnson.

Though Republicans are thought likely to retain the seats in at least two of those three elections, the GOP's majority will remain slim and make for an interesting several months in the lead-up to the all-important presidential contest.

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