WASHINGTON — Rep. John Edward Porter of Illinois, part of a dwindling band of Republican moderates in the House, announced Tuesday that he will not seek a 12th term next year, further complicating the GOP's effort to hold its tenuous majority.
"I have the best job in America," said Porter, who chairs a subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee that oversees education, social and health programs. "I just think it's time I move on to other challenges."
Porter, 64, did not rule out a run for the Senate or other public office, but his surprise decision not to seek reelection gives Democrats an unforeseen shot at the Illinois 10th District he has represented since 1980. He becomes the 16th House Republican to decide against running for reelection, compared to only six Democrats.
Democrats now have 211 seats plus Rep. Bernard Sanders of Vermont, an independent who reliably votes Democratic. They need to reach 218 to take back the majority in the 2000 election, and Porter's district in Chicago's North Shore suburbs has recently trended Democratic.