Michigan Rep. Dan Kildee announced on November 16 that he will retire at the end of his current term, joining a growing list of lawmakers not seeking 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,” the 65-year-old Kildee said in a statement.
Despite a successful surgery leaving him cancer-free, Kildee expressed a desire to spend more time with his family.
Representing Michigan’s 8th Congressional District, including Flint, since 2013, Kildee’s retirement is perceived by Republicans as an opportunity to gain a seat. The Congressional Leadership Fund, a super political action committee focused on the House, optimistically stated, “Another top pickup opportunity for House Republicans gets all the more winnable!”
National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Mike Marinella echoed this sentiment, saying, “Republicans are looking forward to flipping this seat red.” Following Kildee’s announcement, the Cook Political Report, a political handicapper, shifted the district’s status from “lean Democrat” to “toss up.”
Kildee remains confident in his party’s prospects, asserting, “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.”
His departure has drawn praise from colleagues. Michigan Rep. Elissa Slotkin remarked, “This will be a huge loss for Congress, for Michigan, and for me personally.”
New York Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, the House minority leader, added, “He will be greatly missed in the People’s House and the House Democratic Caucus.” Massachusetts Rep. Katherine Clark highlighted Kildee’s role in securing funding for pipe replacement in Flint after the water crisis, noting his commitment to environmental justice.
Kildee’s exit is part of a broader trend of congressional departures. He is the 26th member to announce a non-return, with 17 being Democrats. Among them is Washington Rep. Derek Kilmer, who stated, “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.”
Virginia Rep. Abigail Spanberger is leaving Congress to run for Virginia’s governorship. She expressed her motivation, saying, “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.”
The political landscape is shifting with these departures. The Washington seat is likely to remain Democratic, but the open Virginia seat is viewed by Republicans as a potential gain. Other notable exits include Ohio Rep. Brad Wenstrup and Texas Reps. Pat Fallon and Michael Burgess — all Republicans — with Fallon eyeing a Senate seat. In 2022, a significant number of lawmakers, 49 in total with 31 Democrats, also chose not to seek additional terms. This trend reflects a dynamic and evolving political environment in the United States.
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