Missouri Republican U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer will not seek reelection, though his departure in what is considered a safe Republican district is unlikely to impact the balance of power after the 2024 election.
Luetkemeyer, 71, announced his decision Thursday. He joins a growing list of House members who plan to retire or seek other office.
“It has been an honor to serve the great people of the Third Congressional District and state of Missouri for these past several years,” Luetkemeyer said in a statement. “However, after a lot of thoughtful discussion with my family, I have decided to not file for re-election and retire at the end of my term in December.”
Luetkemeyer, who was first elected in 2008, represents a large geographic area that stretches from the western suburbs of St. Louis to Jefferson City and Columbia in central Missouri. Luetkemeyer narrowly defeated Democrat Judy Baker in 2008, but in every subsequent election has won the general election by more than 30 percentage points.
The Cook Political Report lists the 3rd District as solid Republican.
Missouri politics have moved decidedly to the right over the past two decades. Six of the state’s eight members of the U.S. House are Republicans, as are all of the statewide officeholders.
Nationally, about two dozen Democrats have indicated they won’t seek reelection, with half running for another elected office. Luetkemeyer is among about 15 Republicans have said they are not seeking another term, with three seeking elected office elsewhere.
Republican exits have involved higher-profile lawmakers.
Rep. George Santos of New York became only the third lawmaker to be expelled by colleagues since the Civil War. Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California was the first speaker to be removed from that office by his colleagues. He opted to leave effective Dec. 31 rather than serve among the rank-and-file.
But the departure of a handful of Democrats in competitive districts has Republicans optimistic that they have the early edge in determining which party controls the House after the 2024 elections.
Jim Salter, The Associated Press