In what is another hit to House Speaker and California Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Democrats’ chances of keeping the House, a top Democrat representative has announced his retirement, adding to a list that now includes five House Democrats.
Democrats now have to find a new candidate for his spot in the House as they cling to a tiny majority, CNN reported.
Democratic Rep. John Yarmuth announced on Tuesday that he will not be seeking reelection after serving thirteen years in Congress and becoming one of the most powerful liberals in Washington DC.
Yarmuth’s announcement is a blow for Democrats who hold a slim majority in the chamber and must now field a new candidate for his US House seat.
Yarmuth, the lone Democrat to represent Kentucky, also serves as the chair of the House Budget Committee, which is helping to steer President Joe Biden’s social safety net agenda through snags that have come up in negotiations.
“Truth be told, I never expected to be in Congress this long. I always said I couldn’t imagine being here longer than 10 years” he said in a video announcing his retirement. “After every election, I was asked how long I intended to serve, and I never had an answer. Today, I do. This term will be my last.”
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He said that he is in good health but, as he approaches the age of 75, he believes the job may become more challenging and he wants to spend time with his family.
“We can still do much more for the American people. And since that progress will unfortunately not be done on a bipartisan basis, my chairmanship of the House Budget Committee puts me in a pivotal position to help build an even better future for our citizens,” the representative said.
He said it is going to be tough for him to stop doing the job but he believes he made the correct decision.
“I know that on my first day as a private citizen, I will regret this decision, and I will be miserable about having left the most gratifying all of my professional life” he said. “But I also know that every day thereafter, I will find other ways to help my fellow citizens, and I will be more confident that the decision I announced today is the right one.”
National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Mike Berg celebrated his retirement.
“Smart Democrats know their days in the majority are numbered, so they are retiring or seeking other offices,” he said.
And it may not take long for Democrats to find their candidate, as minutes after the representative announced his retirement Morgan McGarvey, Kentucky’s state Senate Democratic leader announced his candidacy.
“With the news that our outstanding Congressman John Yarmuth is retiring, I’m excited to announce my bid for US Congress in #KY03,” he said.
But there is another candidate who announced that she would attempt to primary the sitting representative, State Rep. Attica Scott.
“I am running for Congress for the Louisvillians who have asked me for years to run, including the Black women who have never had a representative from Kentucky in Congress who looks like us,” she said, the Courier Journal reported.
“We often talk about being a diverse, inclusive, and welcoming city. Imagine what it would mean to celebrate, elevate and recognize that diversity with our vote,” she said. “We still have large geographic and racial differences that persist across our city. But right now, we have an opportunity to change that by changing the people who are in office. We have work to do, y’all.”
“I grew up in the Beecher Terrace housing projects. I experienced busing and went to school with kids from the East End, South End, and West End,” the state representative said. “My mother struggled with addiction. She died from an overdose when I was 16 and my brother was 12. My father was trapped in the cycle of incarceration.
“When my constituents and neighbors tell me about their lived challenges, they know that I will listen with empathy and take action because those have been my challenges, too,” she said.