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G.K. Butterfield D-N.C. will announce his retirement from Congress in a move that will hurt Democrats’ chances to keep control of the chamber during the midterm elections.
According to reports, Butterfield, a long-serving member and former chair for the Congressional Black Caucus will announce Thursday that he will not seek reelection. Butterfield was elected as the first representative of North Carolina’s 1st Congressional District back in 2004.
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The planned announcement comes two weeks after North Carolina’s Republican-controlled legislature passed a new congressional map that may put Butterfield’s typically safe seat within reach of the GOP, with the new districting going from leaning Democratic by seven points to now leaning Democratic by one point, according to the political website FiveThirtyEight.
Democrats filed a lawsuit against Butterfield over the map. They claim that the new boundary will reduce the influence of black voters within Butterfield’s district. Butterfield pledged earlier this month that he would continue fighting for his seat.
“I do plan to run again. Butterfield said at the time that she would give everything she had to it.
These plans have since been changed by sources close to him, who told WRAL that he decided to resign because of the new district boundary.
Butterfield’s retirement is announced the same week that Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) announced their retirements. This adds to a growing number of Democratic incumbents who have announced their resignation from Congress. 11 Democrats have indicated that they will not seek reelection, while nine Republicans have stated their intention to retire.
Butterfield served as an associate judge on the North Carolina Supreme Court before being elected to Congress. The Democratic lawmaker was a member the Congressional Black Caucus as well as a fierce supporter making healthcare more affordable and investing in rural communities.
His retirement is yet another blow for Democrats, as the party struggles to maintain a slim majority ahead of next year’s midterm elections. Some analysts believe the GOP is poised to flip at most five seats due to redistricting. The exact number of seats the party needs to flip to regain the majority would depend on how many.
Source: Fox News