Correction: The original version of this item misstated the date of Wolf’s kickoff event.

Rep. Frank Wolf will officially kick off his campaign for a 17th term next week as his Democratic opponent looks to make headway in an uphill contest.

Wolf is holding a kickoff event next Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Hilton Washington Dulles Airport in Herndon, an expected but symbolically important step for the veteran Republican. The event is also billed as a “birthday celebration” for the lawmaker, who turns 73 on Jan. 30.

Wolf is periodically subject to retirement rumors, partly because he typically maintains a slower fundraising pace than some of his colleagues do in non-election years. But Wolf has made clear that he isn’t going anywhere, and he faces a challenge this cycle from retired Air Force Gen. John Douglass (D).

On Wednesday, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee named Douglass’s bid one of its “Emerging Races” — meaning the contest isn’t yet in the most competitive tier but bears watching closely.

However much national Democrats like Douglass and his profile, the odds appear stacked against him. Even though President Obama won the Loudoun-based 10th district in 2008, Wolf has dispatched well-funded challengers by comfortable double-digit margins in recent cycles.

And the 10th is likely to get even safer for Republicans. A GOP-authored redistricting map currently making its way through the General Assembly — and subject to legal challenge by Democrats — would add more Republican-leaning turf to the seat.