The news comes only two weeks after the North Carolina General Assembly approved a new congressional design for the state.
Democrat Rep. G.K. Butterfield is expected to announce his resignation from Congress, a move that would further harm Democrats’ chances of retaining control of the House in the upcoming midterm elections.
According to sources, Butterfield, a longstanding member and past chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, will deliver the news on Thursday. He will not be running for reelection for his position in Congress.
A Seat in the Reach of the GOP
The experienced legislator was initially chosen to serve the 1st Congressional District of North Carolina in 2004. Several weeks ago, North Carolina’s Republican-controlled Congress approved a new congressional chart that could put Butterfield’s traditionally safe seat just within the grasp of the GOP.
Long-time Democrat Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) will announce his retirement from Congress and has informed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) of his decision, according to sources on Capitol Hill.
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) November 18, 2021
Per FiveThirtyEight, the new district went from leaning towards Democrats by seven points to now leaning Democratic by only one point, putting the seat within reach of the GOP.
Democrats have launched a lawsuit against the plan, arguing it will diminish the impact of black voters in Butterfield’s constituency, due to the altered boundaries. Butterfield stated earlier this month he intended to continue his campaign for the seat.
He said he does intend to run again in the future. Also, this was something he was going to put everything he had into. At the time, Butterfield spoke with ABC11.
That has now altered, with people close to the congressman informing WRAL the revised district boundaries played a significant factor in his decision to resign from the House of Representatives.
Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Representative Jackie Speier of California declared their retirements this week, joining a long list of Democrat incumbents who have announced their plans to leave Congress.
Democrats are Scrambling; Majority Seat Guaranteed for GOP
Butterfield’s scheduled retirement comes at the same time as Leahy and Speier’s announcements. A total of 11 Democrat candidates indicated they will not seek reelection in 2022, as opposed to nine Republican candidates who declared they will not run.
Ten Term Democrat Congressional Rep G.K. Butterfield Will Not Seek Reelection, Becomes 15th Democrat to Announce Departurehttps://t.co/D2S9WdG6bG
— TheLastRefuge (@TheLastRefuge2) November 18, 2021
Butterfield stood as an associate judge on the North Carolina Supreme Court, prior to being elected into Congress. He was also a staunch proponent of making healthcare more accessible and making investments in the country’s rural regions.
His resignation is yet another setback for the Democrat Party, which is clinging to an already precarious majority in the House of Representatives, just ahead of next year’s midterm elections.
As a result of redistricting alone, some experts predict that the Republican Party will win at least five seats in the House of Representatives. This is exactly the number of seats the GOP would need to win and retake the majority in the House.