By Jim EllisOct. 14, 2021 — In a video to his supporters and beginning with the phrase “it’s been an incredible journey since my first campaign in 2006 until now …” Kentucky US Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Louisville), the chairman of the House Budget Committee, announced Tuesday that he will not seek a 9th term in Congress next year.
Yarmuth indicated that he never intended to spend 16 years in Washington, figuring he would retire after five terms, but at the age of 75, with his birthday just before the next election, the veteran congressman indicated it is time to return to Louisville and begin enjoying retirement. He committed to vigorously serving the remainder of the current term.
Kentucky’s 3rd Congressional District is fully contained within Jefferson County and hosts the state’s largest city of Louisville. Under the 2020 census numbers, the 3rd only needs to shed 5,879 residents, suggesting that the district will remain largely intact after redistricting. The Kentucky legislature is again expected to draw a 5R-1D congressional map designed to hold for the ensuing decade.
The 3rd is Kentucky’s lone Democratic congressional seat, and returned a 60-38 percent margin for President Biden last November. Hillary Clinton recorded a 55-40 percent spread against then-candidate Donald Trump in 2016, and President Obama posted a 56-43 percent mark against Mitt Romney back in 2012, the first election under the current district lines.
Yarmuth came to the House in 2006, scoring an upset win over then-Rep. Anne Northup (R) in a much different and more competitive 3rd District. He unseated her with a close 51-48 percent margin in what proved to be a strong Democratic election year. Northup returned for a re-match in 2008, but Yarmuth easily won that contest with a 59-41 percent victory margin in the first Obama election year.
In the course of his seven re-election campaigns, Rep. Yarmuth averaged 61.4 percent of the vote and was never a targeted Democratic incumbent. He assumed the chairmanship of the Budget Committee in 2019.