INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Republican Rep. Trey Hollingsworth announced Wednesday that he wouldn’t seek reelection to the southern Indiana congressional seat that he first won in 2016 despite criticism that the wealthy Tennessee transplant had little connection to the state.
Hollingsworth has been mentioned as a possible candidate for Indiana governor in the 2024 election and alluded to a possible run for other political offices in a column posted online by The Indianapolis Star.
“I want to be the change I want to see in this world, so, as I contemplate how I can work for you in new and better ways in the future, I won’t run for reelection this year,” Hollingsworth wrote. “You deserve a member of Congress totally and completely focused on the 9th District, and, though I have remained committed to that promise these three terms, now I will fight for you and us in different ways.”
His office didn’t immediately respond to a request for additional comment.
Republicans will be heavily favored to retain control of the district in this year’s election.
Hollingsworth, 38, moved to the southern Indiana city of Jeffersonville in 2015 and soon entered the race for an open congressional seat from the district spanning from the southern suburbs of Indianapolis to the Ohio River just north of Louisville, Kentucky. He was political unknown before he started spending more than $2.8 million of his own money and a political group funded by his father pumped in about $1 million more into a television advertising-heavy campaign, helping him win a crowded 2016 Republican primary.
Political opponents dubbed him “Tennessee Trey,” trying to highlight his time growing up near Knoxville, Tennessee, and family wealth as his father, Joseph Hollingsworth Jr., founded Hollingsworth Companies, where he made a fortune developing commercial and industrial properties across the South.
His 2016 congressional financial disclosure showed a net worth of at least $50 million and earnings of at least $1.4 million a year.
Democrats criticized Hollingsworth as planning to use that wealth for a statewide campaign.
“It’s no secret that Tennessee Trey will try to buy his way into the governor’s office in 2024 and attempt to lead an Indiana Republican Party that continues to push their extreme culture wars ahead of a better future for Hoosier families,” Indiana Democratic Party spokesman Drew Anderson said.