Congressman John Yarmuth Will Not Seek Reelection

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated.

U.S. Congressman John Yarmuth, who has represented Louisville in the House of Representatives for the last decade and a half, announced that he will retire at the end of his current term, which has 15 months left.  

In a video posted to social media on Tuesday, the chairman of the House Budget Committee, said he is in excellent health, but that he will be 75 years old at the end of his current term, and, moving forward, he wants to spend more time with family. 

“Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the confidence you have place in me,” Yarmuth said in the video. “I urge you to immediately direct your energy to making sure Kentucky’s next 3rd District representative, mayor, Kentucky legislators, school board members, judges and, of course, next U.S. senator, reflect the values that we have fought for for the last 15 years. There is always more to do, and it will take all of us to get it done.”

John Yarmuth’s son, Aaron Yarmuth, told the Courier Journal that he is considering running for his dad’s seat. John Yarmuth said he does not plan to endorse any other candidates who are running unless Aaron Yarmuth decides to run.

Less than 10 minutes after John Yarmuth announced his retirement, Kentucky’s Senate Minority Leader Morgan McGarvey announced that he would be running to replace Yarmuth. State Rep. Attica Scott is already in the race, having announced her campaign in July.

In a statement released after Aaron Yarmuth expressed an interest in running, Scott said, ““I said this when launching our campaign for Congress, no political seat belongs to any family member, front-runner, or legacy, and the people of Louisville deserve someone who will best fight for their needs in Washington. This is the people’s seat, and I am honored by the thousands of people who believe that another world is possible and who supported our campaign early on when we launched in July.”

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In his retirement announcement, John Yarmuth also said that he plans to spend his remaining time in office building on what he called his “proudest moment” in the passage of American Rescue Plan, the $1.9 trillion COVID stimulus package which he authored. 

Yarmuth founded LEO Weekly in 1990, before running for Congress in 2006, an election where he defeated incumbent Anne Northup. He is currently serving his eighth term in office, which he said was much longer than he anticipated being in politics.  

“When I decided to run for Congress in 2006, I wasn’t looking for a new career. At the time, I simply wanted to stop the Bush agenda by helping flip control of the House of Representatives to Democrats. I said then, whether I liked the job or not, I would have accomplished something important. So, here I am, almost 16 years later honored by Louisvillians eight times with their votes of confidence, and extremely proud of the work I’ve done for our citizens. Truth be told, I never expected to be in Congress this long. I always said, ‘I couldn’t imagine being here longer than ten years.’ After every election, I was asked how long I expected to serve and I never had an answer. Today, I do. This term will be my last.”

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