The GOP congressman who leads the House's probe of COVID-19's origins says he won't seek reelection

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican Rep. Brad Wenstrup, who leads the House GOP's investigation of the origins of COVID-19, says he won't seek reelection next year.

Wenstrup represents Ohio's 2nd Congressional District and was first elected to the House in 2012. He said in a video posted on X on Thursday that he would be stepping down to spend more time with his family.

A married father of two young children, the Cincinnati native is a doctor of podiatric medicine and colonel in the Army Reserve. As chair of the House select subcommittee on the coronavirus pandemic, Wenstrup led an inquiry into the virus' origins and the government's response.

Wenstrup, who is also a longtime member of the House Intelligence Committee, has accused U.S. intelligence of withholding key facts about its investigation into the coronavirus. Republicans on the committee last year issued a staff report arguing that there are “indications” that the virus may have been developed as a bioweapon inside the China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology.

U.S. officials, however, released an intelligence report in June that rejected some points raised by those who argue COVID-19 leaked from a lab, instead reiterating that American spy agencies remain divided over how the pandemic began.

Wenstrup's announcement came the same day another longtime congressman also said he would not seek reelection next year. Derek Kilmer, a Democrat who represents the 6th District in Washington, cited similar reasons as Wenstrup in reaching his decision, noting the numerous family events he has missed due to his work in the House.

Kilmer served in the Washington State legislature before he was first elected to his House seat in 2012.

They are among nearly two dozen House members to announce they won't be running again in 2024.