Long-time top Democratic congressman opts to retire before potentially difficult 2022 elections

Andrew Trunsky, DCNF

Democratic Rep. John Yarmuth of Kentucky, the chair of the House Budget Committee, announced Tuesday that he will forgo any re-election effort.

Yarmuth, first elected in 2007 and the only Democrat in Kentucky’s congressional delegation, has been a central player in helping to craft President Joe Biden’s multitrillion-dollar budget bill. His retirement comes just over a year before the 2022 midterms, a potentially difficult cycle for Democrats who seek to defend their slim House majority.

“It’s been an incredible journey since my first campaign in 2006 until now,” Yarmuth said. “I will continue to fight for Louisville in Washington for another 15 months, and then, I will retire from Congress.”

In an accompanying video, Yarmuth, 73, said that he never planned to stay in Congress for more than 10 years and that he wanted to spend more time with his family.

Less than 10 minutes after Yarmuth’s announcement, Democratic state Sen. Morgan McGarvey of Kentucky, the top Democrat in the Kentucky Senate, announced that he will attempt to succeed Yarmuth. Though Yarmuth’s Louisville seat votes overwhelmingly Democratic, the seat may change after Kentucky finishes its redistricting process.

Yarmouth is one of a few high-profile Democrats to announce their retirements this cycle. Democratic Rep. Ron Kind of Wisconsin, whose district voted twice for former President Donald Trump, announced he would not run again, and weeks before him, Democratic Rep. Conor Lamb of Pennsylvania said the same, opting instead to enter into his state’s open Senate race.

Finally, Democratic Rep. Cheri Bustos of Illinois, former chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said in April that she, too, would forgo re-election.

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