North Carolina Democratic Congressman G.K Butterfield announced Thursday that he won’t seek re-election and intends to retire at the end of his term in December 2022.
“It is time for me to retire and allow the torch to be passed to someone who shares the values of the district and can continue the work I have labored so hard [on] for the past 18 years,” Butterfield said in a video posted on YouTube by his congressional office.
Changes to the 1st District, which Butterfield currently represents, that will take effect in the 2022 election appear to have played a role in his decision. The Republican-controlled General Assembly recently approved new congressional and legislative district maps that make the district in northeast North Carolina, which will become the 2nd Congressional District, more friendly to a Republican candidate.
“The map that was recently enacted by the legislature is a partisan map,” Butterfield said. “It’s racially gerrymandered. It will disadvantage African American communities all across the first congressional district.”
Butterfield, 74, said he is “terribly disappointed” with the state’s Republican majority legislature “for gerrymandering our state’s congressional districts and putting their party politics over the best interests of North Carolinians.
Butterfield, 74, went to Congress in July 2004, when he won a special election to succeed Congressman Frank Ballance, who resigned amid a corruption investigation.
During his time in office, Butterfield has been a staunch supporter of civil rights, affordable health care, investment in rural communities and the nation’s veterans.
He also led the Congressional Black Caucus for two years and has served as senior chief deputy whip for House Democrats.
“I am proud of my work in Congress on behalf of my constituents, and I know that my life’s work of fighting for greater fairness and equity will not cease, even after the close of the 117th Congress,” he said. “Serving my community, my state and my country has been one of the greatest privileges for which I will be forever grateful.”
Butterfield’s announcement comes about a month after fellow North Carolina Congressman David Price announced his retirement. The senior senator from North Carolina, Richard Burr, has also announced his retirement.