Democrat Rep. G.K. Butterfield of North Carolina announced Thursday he would not seek reelection in 2022, all but blaming his decision to retire on a redrawn congressional map that made his district more competitive.
Butterfield is the latest Democrat to say they’ll leave Congress as the party seeks to maintain their slim majority in the House in the upcoming 2022 midterm elections. Butterfield is the 16th Democrat in the House to announce plans to leave the chamber this cycle, following Rep. Jackie Speier of California who made public her plans on Tuesday.
“It is time for me to retire, and allow the torch to be passed to someone who shares the values of the district, and continue the work I have labored so hard for the past 18 years,” Butterfield said in a video announcement posted on Twitter.
In his announcement video, Butterfield blasted the new North Carolina congressional map, which was redrawn by the GOP-led state legislature and now has boundaries likely to give Republicans an advantage in the state for the next decade. As a result of redistricting, the new 2nd Congressional District — the successor to Butterfield’s safe Democrat district — was made more competitive.
“The map that was recently enacted by the legislature is a partisan map. It’s racially gerrymandered. It will disadvantage African American communities all across the 1st congressional district. I am disappointed, terribly disappointed with the Republican majority legislature for again gerrymandering our state’s congressional districts and putting their party politics over the best interests of North Carolinians,” Butterfield said.
“While I am hopeful that the courts will ultimately overturn this partisan map, and see that a fair map is enacted, I have made the difficult decision that I will not seek reelection to the United States House of Representatives.”
A former judge and North Carolina Supreme Court justice, Butterfield first came to Congress by winning a 2004 special election after former US Rep. Frank Ballance left office citing health reasons. Butterfield has represented North Carolina’s 1st Congressional District since then.
He serves as House Democrats’ senior chief deputy whip and sits on the Energy and Commerce and House Administration committees.
Butterfield is also a leader in the Congressional Black Caucus and served as its chairman in 2015 and 2016.
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