Eleventh District Congressman Heath Shuler has become the latest Democratic casualty to voting maps redrawn last year by the Republican legislature.
Shuler announced Thursday that he won't seek re-election to a fourth term in the U.S. House this fall.
"This was not an easy decision. However, I am confident that it is the right decision. It is a decision I have weighed heavily over the past few months," he said in a statement. "I have always said family comes first, and I never intended to be a career politician. I am ready to re-focus my priorities and spend more time at home with my wife, Nikol, and two young children."
Just a week ago, Shuler's name was being circulated as a possible gubernatorial candidate after Gov. Beverly Perdue unexpectedly decided not to run for a second term. He withdrew his name from consideration earlier this week.
He said spending time thinking about the governor's race led him to reflect on his future.
"Though my time in Congress will come to an end after this year, my work to move our state and country forward will not," he said. "Reducing our $15 trillion national debt and crafting bipartisan solutions to the many problems facing our nation remain my highest priorities. Leaving Congress will give me the opportunity to focus my time and energy on these initiatives without the constant demands of a re-election campaign."
Republicans redrew the 11th District to exclude heavily Democratic areas of Asheville and include more conservative areas in the western North Carolina mountains, making it more difficult for even a conservative Democrat like Shuler to win this fall.
Last week, 13th District Congressman Brad Miller said he wouldn't seek re-election after the new voting maps moved parts of his district into the 4th Congressional District. Several state lawmakers whose districts have changed, including House Minority Leader Joe Hackney, also are stepping down.