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Rep. Steve LaTourette (R-Ohio) retiring

Rep. Steve LaTourette (R-Ohio) is retiring after nine terms in office, Republican sources confirm.

The Columbus Dispatch reports that the veteran lawmaker is not running for re-election because of a dispute with party leadership over committee assignments. His sudden decision means Republicans will have to scramble to find a replacement; the state’s primaries were in March. LaTourette was on the transportation committee for 14 years, but now is on the powerful appropriations panel.

 If his resignation as the Republican nominee is made effective on Aug. 8 or thereafter, party committee chairs will choose his replacement.

While LaTourette regularly won reelection with large margins, his northeastern district is actually one of the swingiest in the state; it went for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) by a very narrow margin in 2008 and became slightly less Republican after redistricting. LaTourette, who has strong ties to labor unions, is one of the few moderate Republicans left in the House.

But Democrats don’t have a top-tier candidate in accountant Dale Blanchard, who lost to LaTourette in 2000 and 2002 and was defeated in the Democratic primary in 2010.

LaTourette was a close ally of House Speaker John Boehner, a fellow Ohioan, although the two fought over a highway bill earlier this year. The speaker's office has declined to comment.

Update: LaTourette announced his retirement Tuesday, saying his colleagues have become “more interested in fighting with each other than getting the no-brainers done and governing.”

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