Democratic Rep. Bob Brady is not running for re-election
Posted January 31, 2018 12:30 p.m. EST
Updated January 31, 2018 4:21 p.m. EST
WASHINGTON (CNN) — Pennsylvania Democrat Rep. Bob Brady formally announced Wednesday that he will not run for re-election, according to a statement from his office.
"Two weeks ago, I spent Saturday and Sunday sitting by myself in my congressional office only to watch the Eagles NFC Championship game alone as I waited for a vote on the floor of the House -- a vote that never took place," he said in his statement, referring to the government shutdown. "Don't get me wrong, I am the luckiest guy in the world. ... But there are some things I love even more."
He continued: "I have been married to my wife Debbie for twenty-one years. Twenty of those years, I spent four days a week in the US Congress. I now have a great grandchild and another one on the way. Today I choose them."
Brady, who has served in his position since 1998, first made his announcement to ward leaders at the Philadelphia Democratic City Committee's headquarters after hoagies were served, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
He told the newspaper he is retiring because of his family and concerns about how redistricting will affect his congressional colleagues in his state.
Brady is the top Democrat on the Committee on House Administration, whose leadership sponsored legislation that would require members of the House and their staffs to complete anti-harassment and anti-discrimination training during each session of Congress.
In 2017, Brady faced criticism after it was revealed his campaign had given $90,000 to Jimmie Moore, an African-American Democratic challenger in the 2012 primary race. Moore then dropped out of the race.
Two of Brady's aides were implicated in the case. One of his aides, Don "DA" Jones, pleaded guilty in federal court to making false statements to the FBI. And the other, Ken Smukler, said he is fighting the charges.
Brady's Philadelphia-based district is overwhelmingly Democratic -- though Pennsylvania lawmakers are currently redrawing the congressional district lines after the state Supreme Court ruled that they'd been drawn to favor Republicans.
Perhaps more impactful is that Brady -- a powerful local party boss who has chaired the Philadelphia Democratic Party since 1986 -- is departing the political scene at a time when Democrats hope to target three GOP-held seats in the Philadelphia suburbs in this year's midterm elections.
Brady, a Catholic, made headlines in 2015 when, after Pope Francis finished his speech to Congress, the congressman walked up to the rostrum and took the half-empty glass from which the Holy See had sipped. Brady walked back to his office, where he, his wife, a friend and a staffer took turns sipping the water from the glass.
"I saw the Pope drinking out of it three or four times, and I thought it would be a great idea ... for me to have something of a remembrance of Pope Francis," Brady told CNN in a phone interview at the time. "I just saw the glass, I walked up and picked it up and kept it."
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi praised Brady's service in a statement Wednesday.
"For 20 years, Congressman Robert Brady has been a forceful champion for working people in Pennsylvania and across the nation," she said. "My colleagues and I will always consider Congressman Brady to be our beloved 'Mayor of Capitol Hill' and will miss his steadfast leadership and his friendship."