Updated 1:48 PM, 2:20 PM, 4:53 PM | Rep. Jim Gerlach, R-Pa., announced Monday he will not seek re-election in 2014, marking yet another moderate House Republican to leave Congress.
“Nearing the end of my sixth term in the House and following 12 years of public service in the Pennsylvania House and Senate, it is simply time for me to move on to new challenges and to spend more time with my wife and family,” Gerlach said in a statement to PoliticsPA.com, which first reported the news.
Gerlach's departure gives Democrats a decent opportunity in southeastern Pennsylvania. Mitt Romney carried the 6th District with 51 percent in 2012.
Businessman Michael Parrish filed last month to seek the Democratic nod in the 6th District. One national Democratic source described him as a strong candidate and added Parrish has already had early conversations with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
Another national Democratic source pointed out that former environmental official Katie McGinty, who is currently running for governor, is from the 6th District. She's running in a crowded Democratic primary to oust vulnerable Gov. Tom Corbett, a Republican. An email to a McGinty campaign aide requesting comment was not immediately returned.
Republicans mentioned three potential candidates who would be in a strong position to run for the GOP nod: Chester County Commissioner Ryan Costello, state Sen. John Rafferty and former state Rep. Sam Rohrer.
Gerlach's retirement marks the ninth House Republican to announce they will not seek re-election in 2014. His exit announcement follows several other more moderate members of the House GOP, including Rep. Jon Runyan of New Jersey and Rep. Frank R. Wolf of Virginia.
To see which other members will not return to Congress, check out Roll Call's Casualty List.
Emily Cahn contributed to this report.
Updated 4:53 PM | A McGinty campaign aide confirmed she will continue her campaign for governor.