“Truth be told, I didn’t expect to be in Congress this long,” Yarmuth said in a video posted to his Twitter account. “Frankly, I found a new and incomparable joy spending time with my young grandson. ”
The retreat is particularly notable because Republicans in Frankfurt state have signaled their intention to keep its Louisville neighborhood largely intact – rather than breaking it down to secure another GOP neighborhood.
His departure will open a safe blue seat in Louisville and provide an outlet for the state’s pent-up Democratic ambition.
Minutes after Yarmuth’s announcement, Morgan McGarvey – the top Democrat in the Kentucky state legislature – said he would be racing. Yarmuth had already attracted a main challenger from the left, State Representative Attica Scott.
Yarmuth joins half a dozen other Democrats who have announced their retirement this round. This list includes reps Filemon Vela (D-Texas), Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Arizona), Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.) And Ron Kind (D-Wis.). Five other members are leaving to seek other elected positions.
“It’s just the right time for me. I want to have more control over the time I have left, ”Yarmuth told POLITICO.
Yarmuth first ran in 2006 as the editor of an alternative weekly, when he stunned the nation by overthrowing a GOP-controlled seat and helped put Democrats in control of Congress.
Describing himself as a former “Republican Rockefeller,” Yarmuth later became known for his outspoken liberal column, which he paused to run for office. A member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, he is known for his tough stance on issues such as gun control – often wearing a bright red “F” pin to show his NRA rating.
In a statement, President Nancy Pelosi called Yarmuth a “fierce and extraordinarily effective champion”.
“When President Yarmuth retires at the end of his term, Congress will lose a highly respected member and our caucus will lose a friend whose wise counsel, expertise, humor and warmth are cherished,” said Pelosi. in a press release.
It’s unclear who will seek the top Democratic spot on the budget committee after Yarmuth resigns. Caucus chair representative Hakeem Jeffries (DN.Y.) is next in line, but he’s said to be uninterested in the role.