Raleigh, N.C. — Rep. Chris Millis, the conservative Pender County Republican pushing his party to impeach Secretary of State Elaine Marshall, announced plans Friday to resign from the state House.
The move was unexpected, and Millis said his reasons were solely personal. He was absent Thursday for the final day of this week's legislative session.
Millis will resign effective Sept. 15, according to a statement posted to his website. WECT in Wilmington was first to report the news.
"My resignation is solely based on my need to be with my family more often and has nothing to do with any other assumptions that individuals may want to manufacture," the statement reads.
Millis said his wife, three children, parents and employer have sacrificed much so he could serve three terms at the statehouse and that he would "put a bookmark on this chapter of public office" to prioritize his family.
"A bookmark that could be revisited at the proper time in accordance to God’s will and direction," he said.
Millis has been a vocal member of his party's right flank. He accused Marshall, a Democrat, of illegally certifying non-citizens as notaries public, charges Marshall dismissed as ludicrous as she produced reams of documents to answer Millis' demands.
Millis initially called on Marshall to resign, threatening an impeachment process that the House's GOP majority tentatively agreed to begin earlier this year even though some of Millis' colleagues expressed doubts. Democrats were incensed and questioned why, if Marshall broke the law as obviously as Millis alleges, she has not been charged by any law enforcement agency.
It is unclear what will happen now to the House's investigation. GOP leaders included the possibility of impeachment proceedings in an adjournment resolution approved this week, meaning it's something the House can consider when the General Assembly goes back into session in October.
Millis was, by far, the primary advocate for impeachment, and he pushed the issue for months before his fellow House Republicans took action. He also was the primary sponsor of legislation, currently in the Senate, to eliminate North Carolina's permit requirement to carry a concealed handgun.
"The state House of Representatives will lose one of our brightest and hardest-working members without Chris Millis," House Speaker Tim Moore said in a statement. "I can't say enough about Chris' dedication to North Carolina taxpayers, his commitment to effective reform and the countless initiatives he undertook to benefit his constituents and citizens statewide."