House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon, R-Calif., is set to announce that he will not seek re-election in 2014, according to news reports. The 11-term congressman is another close ally of House Speaker John Boehner bowing out in 2015. He would be the 10th House Republican to announce his retirement ahead of the 2014 election.
McKeon, 65, represents California's 25th congressional district. During his tenure on the Armed Services Committee, McKeon openly lobbied against reducing funding for the Defense Department and worked to stop a ban on earmarks for military projects. He voted against the repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' in 2010 and, again, in 2012, tried to postpone the roll back of the provision.
McKeon has been able to leverage his position in Congress to bolster the military bases and defense companies who have their headquarters in the Antelope Valley.
While McKeon's Los Angeles district leans Republican, it was redistricted in 2010 leaving McKeon more vulnerable to challengers than he had been in the past. In 2012, he found himself in a competitive race against Democrat Lee Rogers, a podiatrist who campaigned on allegations that McKeon had received a discounted home loan. In 2012, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney narrowly won the district.
McKeon's office declined to discuss the congressman's plans further.
“The congressman will be making his announcement tomorrow morning," a spokesman said in a release issued Wednesday following reports of his rumored decision to step down.
The news of his impending retirement was first reported by Flash Report, a political blog based in California.
Two GOP state senators are already jockeying for the seat. State Sens. Steve Knight, a former police officer, and Tony Strickland are each making a play for McKeon's spot, which for months has been rumored to be up for grabs.