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Longtime Louisville Congressman John Yarmuth Won’t Run for Reelection


Kentucky’s lone Democrat in Congress, John Yarmuth, won’t run for reelection next year after 16 years in office, creating a likely contentious primary battle for the Louisville-area district.

Yarmuth is the chair of the powerful House Budget Committee. The 73-year-old said Tuesday he wants to have “more control of my time in the years I have left.”

“The desire to have more control of my time in the years I have left has become a high priority. Candidly, I have found new and incomparable joy in spending time with my young grandson. And I would like to spend more of my golden years in Louisville,” Yarmuth said in a video posted to Twitter.

Yarmuth was first elected in 2006 after defeating incumbent Republican Rep. Anne Northup. He will step down in January 2023, at the end of his eighth term.

State Rep. Attica Scott, a Democrat from Louisville, announced her candidacy for the seat earlier this year.

Minutes after Yarmuth’s announcement, state Sen. Morgan McGarvey, also a Democrat from Louisville, announced he would also run for the seat.

“John Yarmuth has been an absolute rock star for our district and for Kentucky. He’s chairman of the House Budget Committee, he is a guy who does the right thing for the right reasons. I’m sorry to see him go,” McGarvey said in an interview.

As chair of the House Budget Committee since 2019, when Democrats took control of Congress, Yarmuth has played a major role in federal coronavirus relief legislation and President Joe Biden’s $3.5 trillion spending plan.

He was one of former President Donald Trump’s chief critics in Congress, questioning his mental capacity for the officecalling for him to be impeached and criticizing his budget proposals.

Yarmuth often brags about his “F” voting record rating with the National Rifle Association and has supported gun control policies like universal background checks and banning assault weapons.

Ryland Barton is the Managing Editor for Collaboratives. He's covered politics and state government for NPR member stations KWBU in Waco and KUT in Austin. He has a bachelor's degree from the University of Chicago and a master's degree in journalism from the University of Texas. He grew up in Lexington.

Email Ryland at
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