Ohio Rep. Pat Tiberi announced Thursday he will not seek re-election and will be leaving Congress before the 2018 midterms.
“While I have not yet determined a final resignation date, I will be leaving Congress by January 31, 2018,” the Republican said in a statement.
The New York Times first reported Wednesday night Tiberi was resigning to lead the Ohio Business Roundtable.
“I have been presented with an opportunity to lead the Ohio Business Roundtable that will allow me to continue to work on public policy issues impacting Ohioans while also spending more time with my family,” Tiberi said in his statement.
The nine-term Republican is a member of the House Ways and Means Committee and chairman of the Joint Economic Committee. Tiberi also chairs the newly formed Main Street Caucus, a group of more than 70 members who describe themselves as representing “the governing wing of the Republican Party.”
Earlier this year, Tiberi passed on challenging Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown in 2018.
Ohio Rep. Steve Stivers, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, praised Tiberi’s leadership.
“I’m proud to call Pat a mentor and a close friend. His presence will be sorely missed by his colleagues on both sides of the aisle,” Stivers said in a statement.
Tiberi still has $6.6 million in his campaign account, according to his October quarterly report to the Federal Election Commission.
Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the 12th District Solid Republican. President Donald Trump carried the district by 11 points last fall, when Tiberi won re-election by nearly 37 points.
The open seat will likely give way to a crowded GOP primary for a special election. One Republican operative in the state pointed to state Rep. Mike Duffey, state Sen. Kris Jordan and state Sen. Jay Hottinger as possible candidates.
Other Republicans who have been mentioned as potentially interested in the seat include state Reps. Rick Carfagna and Anne Gonzales, state Sen. Kevin Bacon and Franklin County Auditor Clarence Mingo, who dropped out of the race for state treasurer on Tuesday.
Democrats aren’t writing off the race.
“Our mission is to get 218, period,” Meredith Kelly, communications director for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said in a statement.
“We will take a close look at all factors in Ohio’s 12th Congressional District, including candidate strength and timing of a potential special election, and if we determine this district gets us closer to that goal, we will be in the fight,” she added.