Washington — Thirteenth District Congressman Brad Miller said Thursday that he will not run for re-election.
The five-term member of the U.S. House said North Carolina's Republican-controlled legislature "dismantled" his district when they redrew voting maps in July.
The new maps put Miller into the 4th District with political ally and fellow Democrat David Price. Miller said he didn't want to run against Price.
“I told David within a week of the election last year that, with the Republicans in control of redistricting, we would almost certainly be drawn into the same district,” Miller said in a statement. “I had two choices: Run in a primary with David or not seek another term.”
Price said he respects Miller's decision and expects him to continue working to help North Carolina residents.
"North Carolinians deserve members of Congress who fight for what is right, and Brad Miller has been fighting for what is right for the last decade, Price said in a statement. "It has been a privilege to fight alongside him for working people and for President Obama's agenda. I know Brad will continue to shape these issues, whatever he chooses to do next, and I wish him well.”
Asked during a conference call Thursday morning whether he would run for North Carolina governor now that Gov. Beverly Perdue is expected not to seek a second term, Miller said he hasn't "given it first thought," but he didn't rule it out.
"There are other qualified candidates out there," he said, declining to single anyone out.
A three-judge panel decided Friday not to delay North Carolina’s May primary after questions were raised about the new voting maps. Democratic elected officials and civil rights and election watchdog groups argue the maps are unconstitutional because of racial gerrymandering and boundaries that cross too many county lines.
Miller said that the redistricting process left the 13th District "pretty inhospitable" to a Democratic candidate, but he would provide any support to whoever runs for the seat.
"The neighborhoods in Raleigh that I looked to for support (in previous elections) are now in the 4th District," Miller said during the conference call.
The shift in district lines would make him an underdog in a primary race against Price, he said.
“Because David has represented Wake County and I have represented none of Orange or Durham, I would be the underdog,” he said. “I have begun campaigns in the past as the underdog and campaigned with great energy, enthusiasm and joy. There would be no joy in this campaign.”
Miller said in July that Republicans controlling the redistricting process targeted him because of his work in Congress.
"I've made myself a real nuisance to big interests that have a lot of influence over North Carolina Republicans, especially big banks," he said in his statement. "This is more about that than anything that happened a decade ago in redistricting."
He said during the conference call that he would support an independent commission to handle redistricting in the future, and he said he believes North Carolina voters would approve creating such a commission if the issue were on the ballot.
He said he plans to use the $180,000 in his campaign account to help "kindred spirits" – candidates with similar values and positions on issues – with their campaigns.
Miller said he does not have an agreement with Price to step aside now and run again in two years, when Price is expected to retire.
“The reality is that, if I sat out a term and returned to Congress, I would be starting over for most purposes,” he said in his statement. “The debate on the issues that I care about, and on which I am now a leader, would move on. I could not simply pick up where I left off.”
Miller says he would continue to press for reform of the banking industry. He says he's also hopeful of getting legislation approved to provide compensation for victims of contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune.
"Brad Miller has served the people of North Carolina for two decades," President Barack Obama said in a statement. "(He) helped lead the fight to protect families from abuses by the financial industry and is a key reason why today we finally have a strong watchdog in place looking out for American consumers."