POLITICS: PennAve

Tom Latham is 3rd House member to declare retirement Tuesday

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Congress,House of Representatives,PennAve,Sean Lengell,Political Buzz

Tuesday was a busy day for House retirements, as Iowa Rep. Tom Latham was the third lawmaker to say he wouldn't run for reelection next year.

Latham, a Republican who serves on the powerful House Appropriations Committee, said the decision not to seek an 11th term was "most difficult."

"I will never find the words that can adequately reflect how truly blessed I feel," said Latham, 65, in a prepared statement. "For a farm kid from a small town in Franklin County this has truly been an amazing and honored experience."

Latham, who was first elected to Congress in 1994, added he still has "a great amount of work to do on behalf of this nation and her people" during his final year in office.

National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Greg Walden of Oregon called the Iowan "one of the hardest working members" of Congress.

"Whether it’s work on behalf of farmers or his passion for fighting government waste, Tom has been a dedicated public servant whose hard work has resulted in Iowans returning him to Congress after hard-fought campaigns," the Oregon lawmaker said.

But Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel said Lathan's pending retirement was endemic of a "mass exodus of Republicans fleeing [House Speaker] John Boehner’s dysfunctional House."

"Tom Latham joins Republicans like Jon Runyan, Tim Griffin and Frank Wolf in jumping ship [and retiring] because Americans are categorically rejecting their flawed priorities: nearly 50 votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act, reckless shutdown, constant brinksmanship and no agenda to work together to create jobs," said Israel.

The New York lawmaker added the district will be in play next year. "Democrats will demonstrate to voters in this toss-up district that we’re committed to making a difference in their lives," he said.

President Obama carried Latham's southwest Iowa district by 4 percentage points last year and 6 points in 2008.

Earlier in the day, Reps. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, and Frank Wolf, R-Va., announced they too would step down when their terms end in January 2015.

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