OMG… I was afraid of this… OR Rep. Peter DeFazio, fresh off his infrastructure win, has announced he won’t run again. We know Skarlatos has been pushing for that seat, aided by Moscow Mitch… I hope Dems have a strong candidate to put forward!
Text of his email:
With humility and gratitude I am announcing that I will not seek re-election next year. It has been the greatest honor of my life to serve as Congressman for the Fourth District of Oregon.
This was a very difficult decision at a difficult time for our nation, but I'm ready to pass the baton to the next generation so I can prioritize my personal health and well-being. I'm so proud of what we accomplished together. I will continue to remain active and dedicated; there is a lot of work that I intend to accomplish before my term ends and in the future.
For 36 years I have fought corporate greed and special interests to benefit Oregon's working families – from delivering affordable health care under the Affordable Care Act, to preventing the privatization and destruction of the Social Security safety net, to protecting our natural treasures for future generations, to fighting trade policies that undermine American workers, to holding industry and regulators accountable to improve aviation safety, to making historic job-creating investments in our roads, bridges, ports and more under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
Thank you for putting your trust in me.
I want to extend deep appreciation and gratitude to my constituents, my loyal campaign supporters, my incredible and dedicated staff who've made my work possible, and my wife, Myrnie Daut, for her constant strength and encouragement.
Representing this district and serving the people of southwestern Oregon has been the honor of my lifetime. Thank you for bestowing your faith and confidence in me.
Part of Earl Blumenauer’s email tribute:
I've been honored to work with Peter for my entire career in Congress, and before that when we were both local government officials in Oregon. Peter is tireless, extraordinarily bright, principled, and amazingly effective. Nobody has his tenacity and commitment to rebuilding and renewing America.
NBC weighs in:
In another departure for Democrats, Oregon Rep. DeFazio to retire from Congress
..."It's time for me to pass the baton to the next generation so I can focus on my health and well-being," said DeFazio in a statement. The congressman has served for 36 years and is currently the chair of the House Transportation Committee.
...House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., sang DeFazio's praises in a statement following his announcement, calling him an "absolute force for progress."
"Chairman DeFazio is known and respected by all as a champion of sustainable, smart and green infrastructure, whose progressive values, passion and persistence have helped rebuild America and the middle class," said Pelosi.
So it sounds a bit like health might be an issue. But the District lines have been redrawn, so that might also have affected things.
The Oregonian has picked up the story:
Oregon Congressman Peter DeFazio to retire
Oregon’s longest-serving congressman will not seek re-election, he announced Wednesday.
Rep. Peter DeFazio said he will not seek re-election in 2022, leaving open Oregon’s District 4 seat. DeFazio has served in the House for 36 years, and is currently the chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
The Springfield politician, 74, has been recognized as a progressive voice in Congress, boosting water and land conservation in rural Oregon and a range of infrastructure projects.
Now that I have a moment to think (vs. react), I need to say how sad I am… DeFazio’s was the only campaign I worked on in the past 15 years, and his team was wonderful, also extending their efforts to help Dems in other states and districts. He’s such a warm, authentic man, and our District will be poorer without his representation. I do hope he’s looked around for someone to fill his shoes (to the extent possible).
Sounds like a Dem has thrown in her hat (h/t Ninkasi23):
Here’s a bit about Val Hoyle:
Oregon Labor Commissioner Val Hoyle Will Run for Congress
Hoyle is the first Democrat to announce she’ll run to replace Rep. Peter DeFazio, who is retiring.
...Hoyle previously served in the state house as the Democrats’ majority leader, representing Eugene and parts of Lane County. She’s an ally of both public and private sector unions and should be a leading candidate in any Democratic primary.
From CBS News:
Peter DeFazio is 19th Democrat to announce he's leaving the House
...While DeFazio is the 19th House Democrat to either retire or run for another office this election cycle, his departure is in keeping with a trend of senior-ranking Democrats departing the House, such as John Yarmuth or G.K. Butterfield, amid doubts that Democrats will be able to hold the majority in 2022.
...DeFazio is an original founder of the Progressive Congressional Caucus that has bucked party leadership on the issues of transportation and international trade deals. He also led the investigation of the Federal Aviation Administration over the crashes of two Boeing 737-MAX airplanes in 2018 and 2019.
...DeFazio was first elected in 1986 and enjoyed double-digit victories in every re-election until 2010. Since then, he has won with at least 55% of the vote. He had his closest victory margin in 2020, when he beat Republican Alex Skarlatos by six points in an expensive race where both candidates spent more than $5.2 million.
DeFazio's seat has been targeted by House Republicans since 2020 and Skarlatos has relaunched his campaign, though the southwest Oregon district was redrawn in September to be more politically friendly for Democrats.
I am miffed not to see this news on NYT or WAPO — and I will remember their omission.
This is from his hometown paper (my bolding):
...Eugene Mayor Lucy Vinis said DeFazio will leave a "deep and broad legacy" in the local community. She highlighted several Eugene-area projects for which DeFazio helped secure funding, including a recent $19 million grant to help transform Franklin Boulevard into a more friendly place for cyclists and pedestrians.
...After retiring, DeFazio said he hopes to take more time to go hiking in wilderness areas he's supported such as Devil's Staircase and Copper Salmon. He noted he's also considering writing a book about "what's wrong with America and how we might fix it."
...From a political standpoint, DeFazio said he felt like it was also a good time to leave office and said he would endorse and work hard to help the next Democratic nominee succeed.
"Now my district is about five points better for Democrats, so it's a time when I feel good that another Democrat can win," he said.