Updated: 9:20 a.m.
Five-term Rep. Brad Miller (D-N.C.) will retire at the end of the 112th Congress.
In redistricting, a Republican-controlled Tar Heel State Legislature had drawn Miller out of his comfortably Democratic 13th district and made it solidly Republican. His home was placed in the 4th district represented by Rep. David Price, dean of the North Carolina Democratic delegation. Miller's decision spares Democrats a potentially bruising Member-versus-Member race.
In a long email to supporters today, Miller explained his rationale for stepping aside.
"Because David has represented Wake County and I have represented none of Orange or Durham, I would be the underdog in a primary with David. I have begun campaigns in the past as the underdog, and campaigned with great energy, enthusiasm and joy. There would be no joy in that campaign," he wrote.
Price, 71, has said he is definitely running for re-election in 2012.
"I do not have an agreement with David to step aside now and run in two years when he retires, as has been widely rumored, nor have I tried to strike any deal," Miller wrote to supporters. He added in the email that he may never return to Congress.
"In two years, maybe it should be someone else’s turn," he wrote.
Roll Call rates the open 13th district Safe Republican and Price's 4th district Safe Democratic.
Miller, a former state Senator, helped to draw his 13th district during last decade's redraw. He never won a general election for Congress with less than 55 percent of the vote. But he never had a lot of friends in the current GOP-heavy Legislature, either.
Democrats have sued over the new GOP map, but that case looks unlikely to bear fruit. A three-judge panel recently declined to move the date of the primary, which North Carolina politicos saw as a sign the new map would likely be in place for 2012.
Miller is the 17th House Member to announce his or her outright retirement this cycle. To see who else is leaving, check out Roll Call's Casualty List.