Arizona Democratic Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick announces retirement

It’s not only Republican lawmakers who are planning retirement ahead of what could be one of the most important midterm elections in recent history, as some Democrats are beginning to announce they’re also stepping aside.

The latest Democrat to announce she won’t seek reelection in 2022 is Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ), who said she will be departing Congress to spend more time with her grandchildren, as well as to abide by her personal support of term limits, according to The Hill

The Arizona congresswoman made headlines in early 2020 after taking time off to attend a six-week treatment program for her battle with alcohol dependency.

“It’s time to pass the torch”

In a statement to the Arizona Republic on Friday, Kirkpatrick said she is no longer interested in holding her position in office after 18 years of public service, signaling she believes it’s time for someone fresh to step in and take her place.

“I’ve been in public service for 18 years and I’ve always been a proponent of term limits and … I’m sort of term-limiting myself,” Kirkpatrick said.

“It’s time to pass along the torch, the baton, and let somebody else take over,” she continued. “Plus, quite honestly, there’s a personal interest. I have three grandsons. … We would just like to be available to them, spend more time with them.”

Kirkpatrick’s decision comes at a time when Democrats hold a razor-thin majority in the House of Representatives, at 222-211. Her exit from the halls of Congress will undoubtedly propel leaders in the Republican Party to field a viable candidate in an attempt to flip the seat red next year.

Kirkpatrick’s seat was previously held by Martha McSally, who left the seat open to run for Senate in 2018.

NRCC responds

The National Republican Congressional Committee issued a statement following Kirkpatrick’s announcement, suggesting that she decided to leave because Democrats will likely no longer be the majority party in the lower chamber after next year’s election.

“Ann Kirkpatrick saw the writing on the wall: Democrats’ House majority is doomed,” NRCC spokesperson Torunn Sinclair said.

“We look forward to turning this seat red again because Arizonans deserve a congresswoman who represents them, not (House Speaker) Nancy Pelosi and Democrats’ socialist agenda,” she added.

Regardless of Kirkpatrick’s reason for her exit from national politics, Republicans now have an opportunity to secure a much-needed seat in a once-reliably red state.

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