Dec. 19 (UPI) -- Republican North Carolina congressman Mark Meadows, one of President Donald Trump's chief allies in the House, announced Thursday he's leaving Capitol Hill when his fourth term expires after next year's elections.
Meadows said he "struggled" with the decision after eight years representing western North Carolina's 11th District, but has always known his time in Congress is temporary.
"These last eight years, I have been so blessed to serve the people of NC-11 and help give a voice to millions of Americans who feel Washington D.C. has forgotten them," he said in a statement.
One of the founders of the influential House Freedom Caucus faction, Meadows at times was linked to multiple jobs in the Trump administration, such as White House chief or staff and political strategist. He praised Trump in his announcement Thursday, just hours after he became just the third U.S. president in history to be impeached by the House -- and signaled a possible move somewhere into Trump's political circle.
"My work with President Trump and his administration is only beginning," Meadows said. "This president has accomplished incredible results for the country in just three years, and I'm fully committed to staying in the fight with him and his team to build on those successes and deliver on his promises for the years to come."
With his retirement, Meadows joins 20 other House Republicans -- including two from his home state -- who won't run again in 2020. North Carolina Rep. Mark Walker announced his departure on Tuesday and Rep. George Holding on Dec. 6.
Unlike Walker and Holding, however, Meadows said his retirement is not related to redistricting -- a redrawing of North Carolina's congressional map that altered the constituencies of several districts that resulted from a gerrymandering lawsuit.