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Republican lawmaker U-turns on plan to quit Congress as she announces surprise re-election bid

Republican Congresswoman Victoria Spartz announced that she will seek re-election in Indiana, surprising voters after announcing last year that she planned to end her time in Congress after her current term.

Ms Spartz has already served two terms in Congress and had said in February last year that she did not plan to seek a third, instead wanting to spend more time with her family, according to the Associated Press.

But in a statement on Monday, Ms Spartz announced that she had changed her mind, saying: “Looking where we are today, and urged by many of my constituents, I do not believe I would be able to deliver this Congress, with the current failed leadership in Washington, DC, on the important issues for our nation that I have worked very hard on.”

Nine Republicans have already announced their intents to run for the seat they believed would be uncontested by an incumbent.

At least two of her opponents have vowed not to drop out of the race for Ms Spartz's seat.

“The 5th district can’t afford another two years of Victoria Spartz’s flip-flopping and putting America last. With woke insanity, a broken border, and out of control spending driving inflation, I will always put the people of this district first and never waiver on my conservative principles,” state representative Chuck Goodrich told the Indiana Capital Chronicle.

Max Engling, another Republican vying for the seat, said Ms Spartz's "well-documented history of waffling" was driving his decision to stay in the race.

"I’m in this race to win and the Congresswoman’s latest announcement makes me more committed than ever to stay in this race, trust the Lord, and fight for family-first policies,” he told the publication.

Ms Spartz, a Ukrainian immigrant, said her background drove her decision to run again, suggesting that Joe Biden's administration is akin to Putin-esque "tyranny."

“As someone who grew up under tyranny, I understand the significance of these challenging times for our Republic, and if my fellow Hoosiers and God decide, I will be honored to continue fighting for them," she said.

Ms Spartz is the only Ukrainian member of Congress. Unlike some of her Republican colleagues, she has consistently supported Congress funding Ukraine's defence in its war against Russia.

Her decision comes less than a day after the Senate released the full draft of a spending bill that includes $60bn in aid for Ukraine and another $14bn for Israel in its war against Hamas. The contested bill includes border provisions intended to address immigration that have caused a rift in the Republican party.

House Speaker Mike Johnson said the Senate's bill would be "dead on arrival" in the House, citing Republican demands for harsher immigration restrictions.