The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Rep. Doc Hastings (R-Wash.) to retire

Rep. Doc Hastings (R-Wash.), the chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, announced Thursday that he won't seek reelection in 2014.

"Last Friday, I celebrated my 73rd birthday, and while I have the ability and seniority to continue serving Central Washington, it is time for the voters to choose a new person with new energy to represent them in the people’s House," Hastings said in a statement.

Hastings joined Congress after winning in the GOP wave election in 1994. He is the latest of several close allies of House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to call it quits.

His seat is considered likely to remain in GOP hands. It went 60-38 for Mitt Romney in the 2012 election.

Hastings's exit leaves his chairmanship open. Next in line would appear to be Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tex.), the committee's third-ranking GOPer. The second-ranking Republican, Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska), has already served the maximum six years as chairman of the committee.

Hastings is the 11th House Republican to opt for retirement and the 18th House member overall.

Updated at 12:43 p.m.