Rep. Ed Perlmutter of Colorado announced Monday that he would not seek reelection this year, further complicating his Democratic Party’s endeavor to maintain their majority.
“After much thought and consideration, I have decided not to run for reelection. It’s been a privilege and honor of a lifetime to serve Colorado, the state I love and have always called home,” Mr. Perlmutter said in a statement.
Mr. Perlmutter, 68, is the 26th House Democrat to announce he would not return to Congress after the midterms. He was first elected to Colorado’s 7th Congressional District in 2006 after defeating the incumbent Republican by 13 percentage points in a year Democrats took the House majority from the GOP.
The Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan election forecaster, rated the 7th District as solidly Democrat when Mr. Perlmutter was planning to run for reelection.
No Republican opponent of Mr. Perlmutter ever got within single-digit percentage points of dethroning him.
However, after the redistricting process, the district became more competitive.
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Mr. Perlmutter said in his statement that “even though the numbers are slightly tighter” in the district, Democrats “will win.”
The lawmaker’s decision to exit follows retirement announcements last week by Democratic Reps. Brenda Lawrence of Michigan and Bobby Rush of Illinois.
He is a senior member of the House Financial Services Committee and chairman of its Consumer Protection and Financial Institutions subcommittee. He also sits on the Science, Space and Technology Committee as well as the Rules Committee.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, praised Mr. Perlmutter for his service in Congress.
“He has brought to the Congress good faith and an open mind to help advance progress for American families while never unwilling to stand his ground,” Mrs. Pelosi said.
“We know he will make a great contribution to the Congress in his final year. When he retires at the end of his term, our caucus and the Congress will miss Congressman Perlmutter’s passion for policymaking and commitment to compromise,” she added.
Republicans, like the Congressional Leadership Fund, a GOP House super PAC, and the National Republican Congressional Committee, boasted about the news of Mr. Perlmutter’s retirement despite the 7th District’s Democratic leanings.
“Ed Perlmutter knows House Democrats won’t be in the majority after the midterm elections. He made the smart decision to retire rather than lose reelection,” NRCC Spokeswoman Courtney Parella said in a statement.
The Congressional Leadership Fund called the retirement of House Democrats a “crisis” that has evolved into a disaster for Democrats.
“Democrats know they have a simple choice: Retire or get fired,” said Communications Director Calvin Moore. “Democrats’ retirement crisis has become a disaster of epic proportions because they know their failed record will cost them the majority.”
House Democrats not returning to Congress because of retirements or because the lawmakers are seeking higher office outnumber Republicans, who only are saying goodbye to 12 of their colleagues next year.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, California Republican, predicts that the number of Democrat retirements is likely to go as high as 30.