Michigan U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Flint) announced Thursday he will not seek reelection in 2024, creating an opening for House Republicans to flip his highly competitive seat in Michigan’s 8th Congressional District.
Kildee, whose family has represented Michigan in Congress since 1977, said his decision was based on a cancer diagnosis he received earlier in the year that made him reassess his future. He is now cancer-free after having a successful surgery to remove it, he said.
“After spending time with my wife, children and grandchildren and contemplating our future, the time has come for me to step back from public office,” Kildee said Thursday. “Running for office, ultimately, is a personal decision first. And this was not an easy decision to make. But I know it’s the right one for me and for my family.”
Kildee, 65, has served six terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, succeeding his late uncle Dale Kildee in 2013, who served 36 years in Congress.
The newly redrawn 8th Congressional District still slightly favors Democrats, including much of the area Kildee represented previously, but added parts of Midland County — including the city of Midland — which leans Republican, making the seat more competitive.
“Democrats are in shambles as their list of swing-district Democrats who are racing for the exits continues to grow,” National Republican Congressional Committee Spokesman Mike Marinella said Thursday. “Republicans are looking forward to flipping this seat red.”
In his statement, Kildee said he is confident that Michigan will reeleect Biden and elect a Democrat to succeed him in the district after he retires on Jan. 3, 2025.
“While my name will not be on the ballot next November, I will be doing everything I can to help elect common sense, principled and results-oriented leaders,” he said. “For the remainder of my term, I will continue bringing the same passion, work ethic and drive to help our community and my constituents. My congressional offices will remain open and available to assist anyone in the district who needs help.”
Flint Mayor Sheldon Neely told the Detroit News he plans to form an exploratory committee about running. Other potential Democratic candidates could include state Sen. Kristen McDonald Rivet (D-Bay City) and former Senate minority leader Jim Ananich. On the Republican side, former Michigan House Speaker Tom Leonard and state Rep. Bill G. Schuette (R-Midland) would have high name recognition.
In a statement on Thursday, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Kildee has always been a true partner in getting things done.
“It’s been an honor to work with him to get results for Michiganders who have been left behind,” she said on X. “I’m grateful for our collaboration and wish him the absolute best in the years to come.”
WDET reporter Russ McNamara contributed to this report.