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Rep. Brenda Lawrence adds to growing number of House Democrats retiring at end of this term

By Shawna Mizelle, CNN

Democratic Rep. Brenda Lawrence of Michigan announced on Tuesday that she will not seek reelection to the House this year after four terms representing Michigan’s 14th District, becoming the 25th House Democrat to announce they’re leaving at the end of this term.

“Today, after reflecting on my journey — and oh, my goodness, what a journey — and having conversations with my family, I am announcing that I will not be seeking reelection to Congress,” Lawrence said in a video posted to Twitter. “I’m incredibly grateful for the people of Michigan’s 14th Congressional District who have placed their trust and vote in me — in me, just a little Black girl from the east side of Detroit, you made me your congresswoman.”

Her announcement adds to a growing list of Democrats who have recently said they won’t runn for reelection in November’s midterms. Rep. Bobby Rush of Illinois told the Chicago Sun-Times in an interview published Monday that he won’t run for a 16th term. Democrats face strong headwinds for retaining their slim majority in both chambers of Congress, and Republicans see President Joe Biden’s sagging approval numbers as an opportunity for the midterms.

Many lawmakers are also facing new congressional maps after the once-a-decade redistricting process. Lawrence is the 36th member from either party to announce they’ll be leaving the House at the end of the term. That includes 11 members — six Democrats and five Republicans — who are running for Senate or governor.

Lawrence, first elected in 2014, referenced redistricting in her Tuesday remarks. “As we have a new redistricting map, a new generation of leaders will step up. We need to make sure our elected officials, in Michigan and across this country, look like our communities,” she said.

“It is not lost on me that I’m currently the only Black member of the Michigan congressional delegation — in both the US House and Senate. So, whether it’s in the halls of Congress, city halls or local school boards, representation matters,” she added.

Lawrence, the co-chair of the Democratic Women’s Caucus, was the first Black person and the first woman to be elected mayor in the city of Southfield, Michigan, according to her congressional biography.

The Michigan congresswoman promised to fight to “pass laws to protect our voting rights, women’s rights and to protect our environment” during the remainder of her tenure, and while she did not expound on her future plans, she said that “service to my community, service to my country” will continue to be her “guiding light.”

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Chris Cillizza and Annie Grayer contributed to this report.

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