Updated 8:20 p.m. | Longtime New York Democratic Rep. Gary Ackerman will retire at the end of the 112th Congress, he announced tonight.
Ackerman, serving his 14th full term, represents portions of Queens and Long Island. But, in a redistricting map likely to become law, his district was essentially dismantled and his home was drawn into the same district as Rep. Steve Israel, the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
Ackerman had earlier announced that if a map drawn by a court was to become law, he would run in the open 6th district. That proposed New York City majority-minority district is now an open seat, which leans heavily toward Democrats.
New York Democratic operatives told Roll Call late tonight that the primary field was "wide open." But whoever decides to run there had better move quickly. The Congressional candidate petitioning process is slated to begin next week.
A federal three-judge panel is likely to finalize the new lines as early as tonight.
“The residents of Queens and Long Island have honored me with their trust and support for the past 34 years, first as a New York State Senator, and for the past 15 terms as a Member of Congress,” Ackerman said in a statement. “I’ve been truly privileged to have had the opportunity to fight for the beliefs of my neighbors in both the State Capital and in the halls of Congress. During my years in Congress, it has been my pleasure to address the needs of thousands of individual constituents and to influence domestic and global policy while serving on the Financial and Foreign Affairs Committees in the House.
"I am most thankful for the opportunity I’ve had to serve my country and my community,” he added.
Ackerman was first elected to Congress in a 1983 special election. He is the 23rd House Member this cycle to retire and not seek other office. To see the other Members who are making this Congress their last, check out Roll Call's Casualty List.