Fifteen-term Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.) has decided not to seek reelection this year, according to two aides familiar with his plans.
Towns, who represents a heavily Democratic and majority-black Brooklyn-based district and is a former chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform committee, will turn 78 this year and would have been 80 by the time his next term ended. In addition, he faced a potentially difficult primary with state Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries and New York City Councilman Charles Barron.
Barron fell to Towns 47 percent to 37 percent in a 2006 primary, but Jeffries appeared to be the more serious threat to Towns this year. Just last month, The Fix ranked Towns as the seventh most likely incumbent to lose in this year’s primaries, and last week, Jeffries announced that he had raised $237,000 in the first quarter of the year.
Despite Jeffries’ challenge and the changes to his 10th Congressional District brought on by redistricting, Towns regularly faced primary challenges and repeatedly survived during his three decades in Congress.
With him out now, the field of candidates for his seat is likely to grow. One name that is being mentioned is state Sen. Kevin Parker.
Towns is the 15th House Democrat to announce his retirement. Seven more are running for other offices.
On the GOP side, 10 incumbents are retiring and eight are running for higher office.