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Dent Suggests He’s Pursuing Cable TV Opportunities

Pennsylvania GOP rep would join long list of lawmakers-turned cable news contributors

Rep. Charlie Dent, R-Pa., is considering media opportunities after he leaves Congress in May. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Rep. Charlie Dent, R-Pa., is considering media opportunities after he leaves Congress in May. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Charlie Dent could become the latest lawmaker-turned full-time cable television pundit after he resigns next month.

The Pennsylvania Republican announced this week he will leave Congress for good sometime between May 8 and Memorial Day. Dent said as early as last September he would not run for re-election this year.

“It’s no secret I’ve been talking about media work,” Dent, who has become a cable TV mainstay as a frequent GOP critic of President Donald Trump, told PennLive Wednesday. “I’m sure I will be doing more than one thing, several things. You can say that pretty safely.”

He has not narrowed down his post-Congress options, Dent said Tuesday. He’s unlikely to finalize his plans before he leaves the House in May, he told The Morning Call in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

Dent wouldn’t be the first congressman to ink a contributor deal with a cable news network after his resignation or retirement.

Former Utah Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz signed a deal with Fox News the day after his resignation became official on June 1 last year.

Former Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel of New York, who retired in 2017, was a regular contributor to CNN in 2017 and has made several recent appearances on MSNBC. 

Joe Scarborough, a popular morning political talk show host on MSNBC, served in the House for three terms in the late-1990s and early-2000s.

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The special election process to replace Dent has been made more confusing by recent events in the Keystone State. The state Supreme Court threw out the congressional map as an illegal partisan gerrymander, and ended up redrawing the district lines in time for November’s midterms. Dent’s 15th District is the new 7th District under the new map. But any special election for his seat would take place under the old 15th District boundaries, a Pennsylvania State Department spokesperson confirmed in an email Tuesday.

Under state law, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, has 10 days after the vacancy is official to declare a special election. That election must occur at least 60 days after he makes the announcement.

Nominees would be chosen by party leaders rather than through a primary election.

A race is already underway in the newly reconfigured 7th District — located north of Philadelphia in the Lehigh Valley area — with six candidates competing for the Democratic nod and the GOP contest a two-way race.

The new map shifted the district from one that President Donald Trump carried by 8 points to a seat that Hillary Clinton would have carried by 1 point. Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the race Tilts Democratic.

— Bridget Bowman contributed to this report.

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