Democrat Congresswoman Annie Kuster Joins Exodus, Will Not Seek Reelection
Democrat Congresswoman Annie Kuster Joins Exodus, Will Not Seek Reelection

By Samantha Flom

Rep. Annie Kuster (D-N.H.), leader of the House’s New Democrat Coalition, has announced that she will not seek reelection in November, continuing the recent exodus of dozens of members of Congress.

“As I look to the future, I am excited by the work and opportunities that lie ahead. We all have a role to play in standing up for what we believe in, advocating for a better future, and pursuing the change that we want to see,” she said in a statement.

“I always said I was not going to stay in Congress forever—I will not be seeking re-election in 2024.”

The 67-year-old added that she will finish the rest of her term, which ends in January 2025.

“In the months ahead, I will use my time to help Congress build on the progress we have made and finish the job for the American people,“ she said. ”I will continue to lead the New Democrat Coalition to help pass comprehensive, bipartisan legislation to move our country forward.”

As chair of the coalition, Ms. Kuster has worked much in reaching across the aisle. She is the founder and co-chair of the Bipartisan Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Task Force, the Bipartisan Task Force to End Sexual Violence, and the Bipartisan Ski and Snowboard Caucus.

She is also a member of the Bipartisan 21st Century Long-Term Care Caucus, the Bipartisan Congressional PFAS Task Force, and the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

The six-term congresswoman has represented New Hampshire’s 2nd District since 2013, and the announcement of her departure comes at a critical time.

With the Republican and Democratic presidential nominees effectively decided, the nation’s political focus has begun to shift toward congressional races. And as the GOP’s House majority hangs by a thread, Ms. Kuster’s seat—which she flipped from red to blue in 2012—could be targeted for an upset.

Her exit will send Democrats scrambling to find a viable replacement candidate in time for New Hampshire’s Sept. 10 primary.

Ms. Kuster is the latest lawmaker to join the 118th Congress’s long “casualty list” of members who are either retiring or seeking another office.

Her announcement follows the March 22 departure of Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.), who abruptly moved up the date of his resignation, further reducing the GOP majority. Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) announced that he will likewise retire early on April 19.

Mr. Gallagher’s exit will leave House Republicans with a 217-213 majority, leaving room for just one defection if they are to pass bills without any Democrat votes.

“It is tough with a five-seat majority. It is tough with a two- seat. One will be the same,” House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) told CNN in response to Mr. Gallagher’s announcement.

“We all have to work together. We have to unite if we are going to get things done. We have proven with bills like our energy bill, our border security bill, and some of the other big things we have done we can come together and get things done for hard-working families.”

Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.

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