LOUISVILLE, Ky. (LEX 18) — Kentucky's lone Democrat in Congress, Rep. John Yarmuth, announced on Tuesday that he will not run for re-election next year.
"After every election, I was asked how long I intended to serve and I never had an answer," said Yarmuth in a video he released. "Today, I do. This term will be my last."
Yarmuth first ran for Congress in 2006. He said he's retiring at the end of his eighth term to spend more time with his family.
"Truth be told, I never expected to be in Congress for this long. I always said I couldn't imagine being here longer than ten years," Yarmuth said.
Those involved in Kentucky politics say they knew this day would eventually come but were surprised with the announcement this week.
"It was a surprise," said Bob Babbage of Babbage Cofounder. "It was a major announcement on the national stage, as well as for Kentucky."
Babbage says Kentucky tends to see longevity in its elected officials. Senator Mitch McConnell, the Senate Minority Leader, and Rep. John Yarmuth, the House Budget Committee Chairman, are two examples of that. They've accumulated power throughout their time in office, and that power can help Kentucky.
"The minute you change your first name to Chairman or Chairwoman in Washington, it's a different experience for you and for your constituents and for Washington itself," said Babbage.
"Kentucky punches above its weight, as people like to say, and part of that is having the House Budget Chair on your team," added Babbage.
So, Babbage says the person who replaces Yarmuth will have big shoes to fill. But the question is: who will it be?
Democrats want to keep the seat blue, but the GOP wants to flip it and eventually gain control of Congress.
So far, state Rep. Attica Scott and state Sen. Morgan McGarvey have entered the race. But others are rumored to be considering a run as well.
Babbage believes the changes Louisville is going through will have an impact on the race.
"We'll have to see what the mood is," said Babbage. "What the overall important issues for Louisville will be. Louisville's had a tough year, year-and-a-half."