North Carolina’s G.K. Butterfield to retire from Congress

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Three-term congresswoman G.K. Butterfield’s decision means his district will be drawn into new districts North Carolina Democrat G.K. Butterfield says he is not seeking reelection after three terms…

North Carolina's G.K. Butterfield to retire from Congress

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Three-term congresswoman G.K. Butterfield’s decision means his district will be drawn into new districts

North Carolina Democrat G.K. Butterfield says he is not seeking reelection after three terms in Congress.

The veteran is the latest Democrat to announce that he is retiring rather than running again.

Democrats had a strong showing in the mid-term election in November. They took the House of Representatives for the first time in a decade, while Republicans retained their Senate majority.

Among those considering a run for chair of the Congressional Black Caucus are Representative Frederica Wilson and Rep Debbie Dingell, the widow of John Dingell.

Another powerful North Carolina Democrat, Representative David Price, has also been mentioned as a possible candidate for the post.

Mr Butterfield was born and raised in South Carolina, where he graduated from college. He worked in education and became one of the district’s first black teachers.

He was first elected to Congress in 1986.

In 1990, Mr Butterfield chaired the Congressional Black Caucus.

He was charged with sexual harassment in 1993 after allegations emerged against him, but was cleared by the House Ethics Committee in 1994.

Image copyright AFP Image caption G.K. Butterfield said the circumstances surrounding the accusation against him made for a “very difficult environment for any professional.”

In 2015, he revealed he was being treated for prostate cancer and in 2016 his son was indicted in a drug and gun trafficking scheme.

He said he was disappointed with the announcement his party had fallen short, saying it was “an opportunity lost”.

“I am choosing to make a different choice,” he said.

“I have made the difficult decision not to seek re-election to Congress. I expect this to be a very gracious concession.”

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In a letter to supporters, Mr Butterfield said the circumstances surrounding the accusation against him made for a “very difficult environment for any professional” – particularly in a “times of increased politicisation.”

A new 12-member board will be appointed to draw up new districts after the 2020 census.

It is expected that his district will be split up and new districts drawn into his old seat and several others.

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