House Democrat Announces Retirement as Exodus Grows
House Democrat Announces Retirement as Exodus Grows

By Zachary Stieber

Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Mich.) on Nov. 16 said he’s retiring at the end of his term, joining a growing number of members who won’t seek reelection.

“For most of this year, I saw myself continuing to serve and was actively planning another campaign. But there are times in all our lives that make you reassess your own future and path. For me, being diagnosed with cancer earlier this year was one of those moments,” Mr. Kildee, 65, said in a statement.

Though a successful surgery left Mr. Kildee cancer-free, he said that he wants to spend more time with his family.

Mr. Kildee represents Michigan’s 8th Congressional District, which includes the city of Flint. He has been in Congress since 2013.

Republicans say the retirement leaves them with a better shot at flipping the seat.

“Another top pickup opportunity for House Republicans gets all the more winnable!” the Congressional Leadership Fund, a super political action committee that is focused on the House, said in a statement.

“Republicans are looking forward to flipping this seat red,” said Mike Marinella, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee.

Cook Political Report, a political handicapper, moved the seat from “lean Democrat” to “toss up” after Mr. Kildee’s announcement.

Dave Wasserman, a senior editor at the handicapper, said on X it would be “another tough open seat for Dems to defend.”

Mr. Kildee said he was confident Michigan would vote again for President Joe Biden and select a Democrat to replace him.

“While my name will not be on the ballot next November, I will be doing everything I can to help elect common sense, principled and results-oriented leaders,” he said.

Colleagues Laud Exiting Congressman

Democrats lauded Mr. Kildee after he said he would be departing.

“This will be a huge loss for Congress, for Michigan, and for me personally,” Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.), who is also leaving the House to try to secure a Senate seat, said in a statement.

“He will be greatly missed in the People’s House and the House Democratic Caucus,” House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) added.

Others highlighted how Mr. Kildee helped with securing funding to replace pipes in Flint after the water crisis there.

“His commitment to protecting the Great Lakes, ensuring access to clean water for all, and advancing environmental justice will have a lasting impact on his community and our country,” Rep. Katherine Clark (D-Mass.), the House Democrat whip, said in a statement.

Before joining Congress, Mr. Kildee served in various roles in Michigan for decades.

Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.) speaks during a press conference in Fredericksburg, Va., on Nov. 3, 2022. (Samuel Corum/Getty Images)

Growing Number Leaving

Mr. Kildee is the twenty-sixth member to announce they will not seek another term, 17 of which are Democrats.

Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-Wash.) said this month he would not seek another term after serving more than a decade in office.

“In a letter I recently shared with my kids, I told them what I am now sharing with the folks I represent: I will not seek reelection next year,” he said in a statement. He said he was “excited to start a new chapter when my term is complete.”

Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.) is leaving Congress to vie to be Virginia’s next governor, as Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R-Va.) cannot run for a second term due to Virginia rules.

“I am running for governor, because I know what I will bring to the job—a deep and abiding love for our Commonwealth, a relentless work ethic, and a focus on bringing people together to solve the real challenges facing Virginians,” Ms. Spanberger said in a statement.

The Washington seat is expected to remain in Democrat control but the open Virginia seat, representing the state’s 7th Congressional District, is one eyed by Republicans as a pick-up opportunity.

Reps. Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio), Pat Fallon (R-Texas), and Michael Burgess (R-Texas) also recently announced they would not run for additional terms.

Mr. Fallon is among the members seeking a Senate seat.

Some senators, including Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), are also stepping down at the end of the current Congress.

In 2022, 49 members did not run for additional terms. Thirty-one were Democrats.

Republicans flipped control of the lower chamber in the midterms, but were unable to secure control of the upper chamber.

Other members have or plan to leave Congress before the next term.

Rep. Brian Higgins (D-N.Y.) said over the weekend he would leave in early 2024. Mr. Higgins said that “institutional norms have been compromised” and alleged that colleagues “have weaponized the legislation-making process.”

Mr. Higgins has served in Congress since 2005.

Reps. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) and Chris Stewart (R-Utah) have also resigned.

Rep. Gabe Amo (D-R.I.) has already been sworn in to replace the former, while a special election is scheduled for November to select Mr. Stewart’s replacement.

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