Two more House Democrats announced Tuesday they won’t seek reelection in November, bringing the party’s total retirements to 28 ahead of what is expected to be a difficult midterm election year.
Reps. Jim Langevin of Rhode Island and Jerry McNerney of California both said in separate announcements that they will not run for another term. Neither gave a specific reason or disclosed any firm plans for the future.
The 57-year-old Langevin, chair of the House Armed Services subcommittee handling cyber issues, has represented a district covering western Rhode Island since 2001. He is the first quadriplegic to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives.
“I have not come to this decision lightly, but it’s time — time for me to chart a new course which I hope will keep me closer to home and allow me to spend more time with family and friends,” Langevin said in a video.
The 70-year-old McNerney, who represents a district in California’s Central Valley that includes Stockton, has served eight terms in the House, beginning in 2007.
“I will keep working for the people of my district throughout the remainder of my term and look forward to new opportunities to continue to serve,” McNerney said on Twitter.
The 2022 midterms are expected to be unfavorable for Democrats, putting their majorities in the House and Senate at risk. Historical trends are working against them, as party that holds the White House almost always loses seats in Congress during the next election. President Joe Biden’s declining poll numbers add to the challenge.
In addition to the 28 House Democrats who have said they’re not seeking reelection, 13 House Republicans have also said they will not run.
McNerney and Langevin both touted their accomplishments in their announcements.
McNerney cited the creation of a veterans health care facility in San Joaquin County, as well as the major investments he said he had helped secure in infrastructure, public safety, broadband, education, child care, and health care.
In a statement, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi lauded McNerney’s commitment to veterans, which she said was “driven by a sense of patriotic duty and inspired by his son’s military service.” She said he fought for clean energy sources and brought a “valued and knowledgeable voice” to Congress with his doctoral degree in mathematics.
Langevin said that he’s most proud of voting for the Affordable Care Act but that he also worked to strengthen national security and cybersecurity, protect and advance the rights of people with disabilities, invest in job training, and fulfill promises to veterans.
Pelosi noted his “unrelenting voice on issues of national security,” particularly through his work to fight against cyber threats. She called Langevin a “force for Americans with disabilities” through his work to boost the Americans with Disabilities Act’s protections.
“It was a moment of great pride and progress for our nation when he became the first wheelchair user to serve as Speaker Pro Tempore, presiding over the House as we celebrated twenty years of the ADA,” she wrote in a statement. “This was only possible because of his inspiration and determination.”
Langevin was 16 when he was injured while working with the Warwick Police Department in the Boy Scout Explorer program. A gun accidentally discharged, and a bullet struck him, leaving him paralyzed.
Langevin has said the accident that left him disabled is what motivated him to run for office.
Republished with the permission of the Associated Press.