In a written statement, Goodlatte said he and his wife discussed the 2018 midterm election and his time as chairman coming to an end next year was a factor.
“After much contemplation and prayer, we decided it was the right time for me to step aside and let someone else serve the Sixth District,” Goodlatte wrote. “I will not seek re-election. With my time as Chairman of the Judiciary Committee ending in December 2018, this is a natural stepping-off point and an opportunity to begin a new chapter of my career and spend more time with my family, particularly my granddaughters.”
Goodlatte served nearly 25 years in the House of Representatives, and in addition to his current post as head of a key committee, he also chaired the agriculture panel, an important post to the farming community in his mostly rural district.
The move was not entirely unexpected, but the senior Republican’s departure adds to a growing list of more than two dozen House GOP members who are retiring or seeking another office. Goodlatte’s district is reliably red, so House Republicans for now feel confident they can retain the seat.
Rep. Steve Stivers, an Ohio Republican and chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, declined to weigh in on potential candidates or the 2018 contest, but praised Goodlatte’s career in the House in a written statement.
“I applaud his dedication to fighting for our Constitutional freedoms, his work on immigration and criminal justice reform, and his unwavering desire to lower our health care costs. I wish him and his family the best of luck in their future endeavors,” Stivers said
Updated 11:52 AM ET, Thu November 9, 2017