Hawaii Democrat Mark Takai announced Thursday evening he would not seek re-election in November.
He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer late last year. He said in a statement Thursday that he had recently learned his cancer had spread.
“In life, we often make plans for ourselves. I had envisioned a long career in the U.S. House of Representatives, building up the seniority and influence that were key to Senator Inouye’s ability to deliver for Hawaii. But as often happens, we find ourselves on a different journey than what we had planned,” he said in the statement.
“When I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last year, my family and I resolved to fight it head-on and with deep personal faith. Today, we find ourselves at a crossroads. I had truly hoped to aggressively fight this cancer while seeking re-election, but I recently learned that my cancer has spread,” Takai said.
“Putting Hawaii and its people first means that I must regretfully withdraw from my 2016 re-election race for Congress and suspend my campaign. Right now, for the sake of my family, I need to focus on getting better rather than getting re-elected,” Takai said.
Takai will fulfill the remainder of his term.
“While Mark has reached the difficult decision to not seek re-election, Mark’s courageous decision to keep fighting for Hawaii’s hard-working families throughout the remainder of his term, even as he fights cancer, exemplifies his bravery,” Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said in a statement Thursday.
“He inspires us to strive with even greater urgency toward a moonshot to cure cancer. We are grateful for his service to our country,” she added.
Takai, a freshman, won his 1st District seat by fewer than 4 points in 2014. President Barack Obama carried his district by solid double-digit margins in 2008 and 2012, and it’s a safe Democratic seat.