Florida Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen announced she would not pursue her seat in the 2018 midterm election, according to a Sunday report from the Miami Herald.
Ros-Lehtinen has held office in Florida for 34 years and served as a U.S. Representative since 1998. She announced her retirement from office in an exclusive interview with the Herald.
“It’s been such a delight and a high honor to serve our community for so many years and help constituents every day of the week,” the congresswoman said. “We just said, ‘It’s time to take a new step.'”
Ros-Lehtinen added that nothing about the current political climate or Trump’s presidency encouraged her to leave office.
“There was no epiphany. There was no moment, nothing that has happened that I’ve said, “I’ve got to move on,'” she asserted. “It was just a realization that I could keep getting elected — but it’s not about getting elected.”
Ros-Lehtinen held the strongly Democratic 27th district in the Miami-Dade area of Florida. The Cuban Republican spent $3.4 million in her 2016 re-election effort. She received 55 percent of the vote in 2016, defeating Democratic Challenger Scott Furman by 10 percentage points. Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton won the district by 20 percentage points over President Donald Trump, indicating a liberal demographic within her home district.
It’s unclear who the Republicans will field to replace the longstanding representative, but the race promises to be serious as Republicans work to keep their current numbers in the House during the 2018 midterm elections.
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