Republican Rep. Chris Jacobs announced Friday he would not seek another term in Congress due to backlash against his support for gun control measures.
Jacobs, who represents western New York including suburban Buffalo, said to reporters that he decided to retire rather than face what he called "an extremely divisive election."
Jacobs stated that he believes he could win the election. However, it would be a divisive election for both the Republican party, and the people of 23rd District. The last thing we need is an incredibly negative and half-truthful media attack, funded by millions in special interest money.
He made his announcement just days after Jacobs split with his party, and he had voiced support for federal assault weapons prohibition.
According to footage from his announcement, he stated that "the last thing we need" was an extremely negative and half-truth-filled media attack. This attack was funded by millions of dollars in special interest money.
Jacobs stated last week that he would vote in favor of a federal assault weapons ban. Conservatives have refused to take up new gun control legislation in an effort to reduce violence.
"I want to be transparent about where I am in Congress. According to Spectrum News, Jacobs stated that if an assault weapons ban bill was brought to the floor, it would ban an AR-15.
He supported the limitation of magazine capacity and stated that he would write a bill banning civilian body armor. He said that it was also "perfectly reasonable" for the age limit for semi-automatic weapons to be raised to 21.
Jacobs is currently representing New York's 27th congressional District. However, Jacobs had previously run for the newly drawn 23rd District. This district includes large swathes of new voters, as well as rural counties.
Unambiguous was the response from Republicans across all parties. Jacobs announced to the Buffalo News that every Republican elected official that had endorsed him withdrew his endorsement. Most of the party officials who supported me withdrew and those who were going to did not withdraw. This was obviously not well received by the Republican base.
Gerard Kassar is the chair of the New York State Conservative Party. He welcomed Jacobs' decision and said that the party was "perplexed by Jacobs' recent stance on Second Amendment rights. This position is well outside of the mainstream of Republican Party, Conservative Party and the voters in NY 23."
We all agree that it is in the best interests of all three, and Congressman Jacobs himself, that he gives up his bid for reelection. He will return to civilian life. He said, "We wish him all the best in his future endeavors."
While President Joe Biden has been urging Republicans to support new gun violence prevention measures, polling shows that most Americans believe mass shootings would be less frequent if guns were more difficult to obtain. The majority of adults also support legislation to restrict access to ammunition and guns. The numbers are highly partisan with the majority of Republicans disagreeing.
Jacobs was considered a strong candidate to win the seat, but his comments sparked interest from other Republicans, including Carl Paladino (a Buffalo developer) who is best known for his 2010 campaign for governor. New York Rep. Elise Stefanik - a member in leadership of the GOP and a rising star in party - endorsed Paladino within minutes of Jacobs' announcement.
Aaron Navarro contributed this report.