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Lowenthal joins Democrats planning to retire after this term

California Democrat says prospect of GOP takeover influenced decision

Rep. Alan Lowenthal, D-Calif., said he'll retire rather than seek a sixth term next year.
Rep. Alan Lowenthal, D-Calif., said he'll retire rather than seek a sixth term next year. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

California Democrat Alan Lowenthal announced Thursday morning that he is retiring at the end of next year rather than seek another term in his Los Angeles-area 47th District. 

Lowenthal, 80, is a liberal activist and former college professor who was the first member of Congress to permanently display the LGBTQ flag outside his office. He has spent nearly 30 years as an elected official, starting as a Long Beach city council member and concluding with what will be a decade in Congress. 

He said in a statement that he wanted to spend more time with his family, including four young grandchildren.  

“It is time to pass the baton,” he said. “It is time to rest and surround myself with the benefits of a life well lived and earned honorably in the service of my fellow citizens.”

Lowenthal told the Long Beach Post that his decision was also influenced by the coronavirus pandemic and the prospect that Republicans could win control of the House in November. 

California will lose a district in 2022 and the state’s nonpartisan redistricting commission has not completed its new congressional maps, but Lowenthal’s district was dramatically altered in early drafts. He won reelection last year to a fifth term with 63 percent of the vote and had $444,000 in his campaign account on Sept. 30 after raising $168,000 so far this year.

Lowenthal joins 19 House Democrats who have announced that they will retire or seek another office in 2022, when Democrats looking to hold onto their narrow House majority will be working against historical odds that favor the party that doesn’t control the White House. 

By comparison, 11 incumbent Republicans have announced that they will not seek a return to the House.

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