MIAMI – U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch of Florida said Monday that he will not seek reelection in the fall, becoming the 31st House Democrat to announce plans to leave the chamber in a challenging midterm year for the party.
Deutch, who represents parts of Broward and Palm Beach counties, said in a statement that he has accepted an offer to serve as a CEO for the American Jewish Committee, a New York City-based nonprofit. He called it a “tremendous privilege" to have served in Congress since 2010.
The congressman, 55, said he will continue his work in Washington until Congress recesses for the next election. He serves as chair on the House Ethics Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East, North Africa and Global Counterterrorism. He is also a senior member of the House Judiciary Committee.
On the Republican side, U.S. Rep. Fred Keller of Pennsylvania said Monday that he also would not seek reelection, citing new congressional maps that would combine his district with one represented by fellow Republican Rep. Dan Meuser.
Keller, 56, blamed the “liberal Pennsylvania Supreme Court,” accusing it of overstepping its authority and selecting a map that favors Democrats. However, the boundaries of his current district and Thompson’s current district needed to grow substantially because of shrinking population there.
"Make no mistake, this map — submitted by a national Democrat group — intends to diminish the voices of conservative voters in central and northeast Pennsylvania," Keller said. “As I said last week, I am not going to let that happen.”
Keller, who has served in Congress since 2019, is the 14th House Republican to announce he's not seeking reelection. The 31 Democratic House retirees are the most since the 1992 elections, when 41 of them stepped away.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi praised Deutch's service, saying his “great integrity and committed leadership” would especially be missed. She said he would depart the House in October.
“Since his first day in the House, Chairman Ted Deutch has been a devoted champion for his South Florida community, a relentless advocate for the public good and a clarion voice for human rights and justice," Pelosi said in a statement.
Florida's House and Senate are redrawing the state’s congressional maps, a once-a-decade redistricting process following the federal census. While each proposal makes changes to Deutch’s district because of population changes, the new district should remain safely Democratic.
Deutch has strongly pushed for gun control legislation and taken a more active role since 17 students and staff members were killed in a 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, part of his district. He has led the gun violence prevention task force in Congress.
Earlier this month he urged President Joe Biden to use his State of the Union address to talk about gun control measures, including universal background checks.
“Anything we can do to spare one more community — one more family — the pain that we have experienced in Parkland and Coral Springs and South Florida is what we must do,” Deutch said in a statement honoring the victims on Feb. 14, marking four years since the Parkland tragedy. “The President may want to do more than that. But I want to get something done. We need to start saving lives and preventing more broken hearts.”
Measures to close loopholes in background checks for gun purchases passed in the House last year, but have stalled in the Senate.