US Rep. John Yarmuth to retire from Congress | In-depth


LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, a Louisville Democrat who has served in Congress since 2007, said Tuesday he won’t seek reelection next year.  

Yarmuth, who represents Kentucky’s 3rd District and is the only Democrat in the state’s federal delegation, currently is the chair of the powerful House Budget Committee. 

In a video posted online, Yarmuth said he is “extremely proud of the work I have done for our citizens. The truth be told, I never expected to be in Congress this long.” 

Yarmuth said he is in “excellent health” but noted that he will be 75 when his current terms ends and wants to spend more of his time with his family in Louisville, including his young grandson. 

“While I’ve just become a lame duck, I intend to spend the next 15 months working hard to build on my proudest moment, the passage of the American Rescue Plan, which I authored and managed through the Congress,” Yarmuth said. “We can still do much more for the American people.

“And since that progress will unfortunately not be done on a bipartisan basis, my chairmanship of the House Budget Committee puts me in a pivotal position to help build an even better future for our citizens.”

Yarmuth ran the LEO Weekly newspaper before he entered politics. He defeated the incumbent Republican, Anne Northup, in 2006 to win the 3rd District seat. He’s been reelected seven times.

Within minutes of Yarmuth’s announcement, Kentucky Senate Minority Floor Leader Morgan McGarvey, D-Louisville, said he would run for Yarmuth’s office, joining state Rep. Attica Scott, a Louisville Democrat who has previously declared her candidacy. 

“I’m a dad of three very young kids, I’m a lifelong Louisvillian, I’m the Democratic leader of the Kentucky Senate,” McGarvey told WDRB News. “I’ve taken on the Trump Bevin Republicans so we don’t look like Texas yet, but I’ve done it while building coalitions to get big things done.”

McGarvey says he never would have challenged Yarmuth in a primary election.  

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, a Democrat, has been rumored over the years as a possible candidate for federal office. A Fischer spokeswoman, Jessica Wethington, said in a statement Tuesday that the mayor “has no intention of running for the seat; he is solely focused on his work as mayor to help the city recover from the pandemic, and become a more equitable, compassionate city of opportunity for all residents.”

No Republicans have entered the race in the heavily Democratic district yet. The district’s political party registration disparity could change when the legislature sets new boundaries, redistricting the state with the new census results early next year. 

Yarmuth’s retirement comes ahead of the 2022 midterm Congressional elections with the Democrats holding a slight edge in the House of Representatives. 

Gov. Andy Beshear, a Democrat, tweeted that Yarmuth has been “a champion for the people of Kentucky and we are grateful for his years of service and dedication to improving our commonwealth and our country.”

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Louisville, applauded Yarmuth for his years of public service and wished him well on his retirement. 

“We always shared a deep affinity for our hometown, Louisville, and a strong sense of loyalty to our constituents and neighbors,” McConnell said in a statement. “I wish John the best as he takes a step back to spend more time with his family.”

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