DENVER (AP) — Democratic Rep. Ed Perlmutter on Monday announced he won’t seek reelection in a competitive district in Denver’s western suburbs, making him the 26th Democrat to retire from the House before an election cycle that’s expected to be difficult for their party.
First elected in 2006, Perlmutter has largely shrugged off repeated Republican challenges. His seat became modestly more conservative during Colorado’s independent redistricting process last year but Democrats were confident Perlmutter could fend off another challenge. Now his seat becomes yet another target for Republicans who are anticipating big gains in congressional elections.
“Even though the numbers are slightly tighter we will win,” Perlmutter, 68, said in a statement announcing his retirement. “I’ve never shied away from a challenge but it’s time for me to move on and explore other opportunities.”
Perlmutter had flirted with retiring in 2017 after a brief and unsuccessful bid for his party’s gubernatorial nomination. But he changed his mind and easily won reelection in a Democratic wave. With inflation and the persistence of the coronavirus pandemic pulling down President Joe Biden’s polling, 2022 is shaping up to be a far harder election for Democrats.
“Ed Perlmutter knows House Democrats won’t be in the majority after the midterm elections,” Courtney Parella, a spokeswoman for the National Republican Congressional Committee, said in a statement. “He made the smart decision to retire rather than lose reelection.”