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McKeon will retire at the end of this Congress. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
McKeon will retire at the end of this Congress. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Calif., announced on Thursday that he will not seek a 12th term in California’s 25th District.

“For me, it’s time to walk away,” McKeon, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said at a hearing Thursday morning.

McKeon’s announcement is not a surprise. Political operatives from both parties in the Golden State have long predicted that the would step aside at the end of the 113th Congress.

Earlier this week, a local political blogger tweeted that McKeon’s announcement would come on Thursday, though McKeon’s office denied the report at the time.

McKeon’s exit gives Democrats a shot of picking up his seat in 2014. GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney carried the 25th district by a 2-point margin in 2012.

Former state Sen. Tony Strickland and sate Sen. Steve Knight, both Republicans, announced last year they would seek the seat if and when McKeon stepped aside. McKeon’s Thursday retirement  announcement now provides their opening to run.

On the Democratic side, podiatric surgeon Lee Rogers is seeking the Democratic nomination. Rogers lost to McKeon in 2012.

McKeon is now the 16th House member to announce retirement this cycle without seeking another office. To see which other House members are retiring, check out Roll Call’s Casualty List.

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