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Rep. Ed Perlmutter says he will not seek reelection, joining more than two dozen other Democrats who plan to leave the House

Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.) listens during a House Rules Committee hearing on Dec. 17, 2019, on Capitol Hill. (Astrid Riecken for The Washington Post)
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Rep. Ed Perlmutter (Colo.) announced Monday that he will not seek reelection to Congress, joining more than two dozen other Democrats who have announced that they will be leaving the House ahead of the 2022 midterm elections.

In a statement, Perlmutter, 68, said it was time for him to explore other opportunities, but did not specify what those would be.

“There comes a time when you pass the torch to the next generation of leaders,” he said. “I’m deeply gratified that our bench in the 7th District is deep and fortunately we have a strong group of leaders who are ready and able to take up that torch.”

The sentiment echoed Perlmutter’s concerns in 2018, when he opposed Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) becoming the next House speaker, in an attempt to encourage the Democratic Party to begin transitioning to younger leadership.

“It was like, ‘Okay, you guys are my friends. It’s just, you’ve got to start passing the torch here,’ ” Perlmutter told The Washington Post then. “Maybe I should have stepped back and just … not worried about it. But I did worry about it.”

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Perlmutter was first elected to represent Colorado’s 7th Congressional District in 2006, and is serving his eighth term, assigned to the Rules, Financial Services and Science, Space and Technology committees.

His district was redrawn once for the 2012 election and will be different again this year after redistricting in Colorado. Under the state’s newly redrawn maps, Perlmutter was the only incumbent moved to a less favorable seat, shifted from one that Biden won by 22 points to a district Biden would have won by 14 points, according to a Washington Post analysis of 2020 election results.

Before his time in Congress, Perlmutter served in the Colorado Senate. In a statement, Perlmutter said it had been “an honor of a lifetime” to serve his community in some elected capacity for more than 25 years. Among his proudest achievements was expanding renewable energy research and growing aerospace industry in the state, as well as completing the VA Medical Center in Aurora, Colo., he said.

Perlmutter, who is the 26th House Democrat to announce he will not seek reelection or is pursuing another office in 2022, also expressed confidence that a Democrat would hold on to his seat, even after redistricting.

“I will miss meeting the voters of the new 7th District — it is truly the most beautiful district in America,” he said. “It’s got the best of Colorado in it and even though the numbers are slightly tighter we will win.”

Despite his push to replace Pelosi with younger leadership, Perlmutter remained on good terms with the House speaker, who praised him Monday for his “passion for policymaking and commitment to compromise” over more than 15 years in Congress.

“He has brought to the Congress good faith and an open mind to help advance progress for American families while never unwilling to stand his ground,” Pelosi said in a statement. “A lifelong Coloradan, Congressman Perlmutter has been a relentless advocate for his state’s top priorities, from economic opportunity to renewable energy and environmental protection to scientific discovery and more, especially on the powerful House Rules Committee.”

Colby Itkowitz contributed to this report.

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