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House Budget Committee Chairman John Yarmuth announced Tuesday that he will retire from Congress after 16 years in office.
The Kentucky Democrat heads the panel responsible for drafting a federal budget plan each year. Yarmuth has been a close ally of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat. He took office in the 2006 Democratic wave, beating a 10-year incumbent Republican as his party claimed its first majority in a dozen years.
"It's been an incredible journey since my first campaign in 2006 until now. I will continue to fight for Louisville in Washington for another 15 months, and then, I will retire from Congress," Yarmuth tweeted Tuesday with a video of him in front of the Capitol.
“The desire to have more control of my time in the years I have left has become a high priority," Yarmuth said in the video. "Candidly, I have found new and incomparable joy in spending time with my young grandson, and I’d like to spend more of my Golden Years with my family in Louisville.”
The move comes as Republicans in Kentucky get ready to begin the redistricting process. State lawmakers are charged with drawing the Bluegrass State's six House seats, and Yarmuth's Louisville district could be a top target. If Republicans are maximally aggressive in gerrymandering to benefit GOP candidates, the district represented by Yarmuth could be spliced and diced to graft on key liberal precincts to surrounding conservative areas. That would have the effect of somewhat diluting the Republican tilt of the neighboring districts, though not enough to make them truly competitive.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, has cautioned against that approach, warning it could lead to lawsuits that could backfire.
House Republicans need to net about five seats to win back the House majority they lost in 2018. So the district is likely to be a tempting target nonetheless, with Republicans eyeing a chance to hold all six House seats from Kentucky.
Yarmuth is the eighth House member to announce retirement plans for this election cycle without seeking another office. And 11 House members are giving up their seats to run for other offices.
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Original Author: David Mark