Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Jim Gerlach became the 10th member of Congress to announce retirement, saying he would not seek re-election this year.
“Nearing the end of my sixth term in the House and following 12 years of public service in the Pennsylvania House and Senate, it is simply time for me to move on to new challenges and to spend more time with my wife and family,” Gerlach said in a statement. “This is a tremendously difficult decision because I have had the opportunity to work with a multitude of dedicated public servants throughout the years. Together, we have worked to strengthen our communities and create opportunities for the hard-working families we have been privileged to represent.”
The news, which was first reported by PoliticsPA, makes Gerlach the first member to announce his retirement since the start of the new year. In the final weeks of 2013, three members announced they would not seek re-election: Republicans Reps. Tom Latham of Iowa and Frank Wolf of Virginia, and Democratic Rep. Jim Matheson of Utah. They added their names to a growing list: Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, Alabama Rep. Spencer Bachus, Arkansas Rep. Tim Griffin, New Jersey Rep. Jon Runyan, North Carolina Rep. Howard Coble, and California Rep. John Campbell.
So far nearly all of the retirees — not counting those who are leaving Congress to run for another elected office — are Republicans, with Matheson as the only exception. (RELATED: Utah to lose sole Democratic member of Congress)
“Leaders like Jim Gerlach are simply not found every day,” said National Republican Congressional Committee Chair Rep. Greg Walden. “He first spent over a decade in the Pennsylvania legislature ensuring that his local community had a voice in the halls of power. In Congress, Jim has been a driving force behind numerous measures to reform the tax code, protect the promises made to seniors, and dismantle the disaster that is ObamaCare. As the founder of the House Land Conservation Caucus, Jim was a leading advocate for preserving our nation’s farmland in Congress.
“I join with my colleagues in wishing Jim and his family well in this new chapter in their lives,” Walden added. “Though we are losing a strong advocate for Pennsylvania, I have no doubt we will elect another Republican leader in November who will be the same thoughtful lawmaker that Jim is.”