Democratic Rep. Nita Lowey on Thursday announced she will not seek re-election to the congressional seat she has held for the last 31 years.
“After 31 years in the United States Congress, representing the people of Westchester, Rockland, Queens and the Bronx, I have decided not to seek re-election in 2020,” Lowey said in a statement. “It is my deep honor and privilege to serve my community and my country, and I will always be grateful to the people who have entrusted me to represent them.”
Lowey serves as the chairwoman of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, a sign of her tenure in the House.
“As a long-time Member of the House Appropriations Committee, I have secured funding to clean up and protect Long Island Sound and the Hudson River; increase access to Head Start, afterschool programs, and community health centers for thousands of local children and families; provide New York’s fair share of homeland security assistance; and make the commute across the Hudson easier and safer on the new Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge,” Lowey said.
“In difficult times, including after September 11th and Superstorm Sandy, I have fought hard in Washington for federal assistance to recover and rebuild,” she added.
The announcement, to say the least, is something of a political earthquake for Democrats in the suburban House seat north of New York City.
Lowey’s district has long been eyed by a large bench of Democrats in elected office and her potential rise to the U.S. Senate — halted by the campaign of Hillary Clinton in 2000 — created something of a local-level bottle neck.
The district has long been considered a safe Democratic seat while she was in office.
Virtually any Westchester County Democrat who has been elected office over the last generation has eyed the seat as a capstone to a career.
Those dreams of running for the House, however, could be thwarted again for some local Democrats should Chelsea Clinton run for the seat. And, to be clear, Clinton has not shown any specific interest in the seat, which includes parts of Westchester and Rockland counties.
Lowey, this year, drew her first primary challenge since 1988: Mondaire Jones, a former official in the Obama administration’s Department of Justice.