Rep. Jim Gerlach, R-Pa., announced Monday he will not seek re-election in 2014, adding to a growing list of moderate House Republicans who are stepping down from Congress.
Gerlach said that after six terms of service, it is time for him to return home and focus on his family, in a statement to PoliticasPA.com. He also said he will not challenge Pennsylvania's unpopular Republican Gov. Tom Corbett in a primary this year.
"This is a tremendously difficult decision because I have had the opportunity to work with a multitude of dedicated public servants throughout the years," Gerlach said. "Together, we have worked to strengthen our communities and create opportunities for the hard-working families we have been privileged to represent."
Gerlach's southeastern Pennsylvania district remains a top target of Democrats even though redistricting helped to make it a stronger Republican seat in 2010. Though fewer and fewer congressional districts remain competitive thanks to the success of such gerrymanders, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney edged out President Barack Obama and won Gerlach's district with 51 percent of the vote in 2012.
Gerlach, considered one of the increasingly-rare moderate Republican politicians, is following in the footsteps of Rep. Tom Latham, R-Iowa, Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., and Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, who announced their retirements ahead of the 2014 election. Gerlach, a former state lawmaker, most recently worked with House Democrats to end the government shutdown and to renew the Violence Against Women Act.
"Leaders like Jim Gerlach are simply not found every day," said Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., the Chairman of the National Republican Campaign Committee in a release. "In Congress, Jim has been a driving force behind numerous measures to reform the tax code, protect the promises made to seniors and dismantle the disaster that is Obamacare. As the founder of the House Land Conservation Caucus, Jim was a leading advocate for preserving our nation's farmland in Congress."