Congressman Heath Shuler (D-11th District) announced today that he would not be seeking re-election in 2012. Shuler, who assumed office on January 3, 2007 after defeating long-time Republican, Charles Taylor.
While speculation surrounded Congressman Shuler as being a potential candidate for Governor for the state of North Carolina after Bev Perdue announced she would not seek re-election, he was at his Waynesville home with his family making the decision to not only not run for Governor, but to also not seek another term in the U.S. House of Representatives. “Last week I spent a lot of time at home with my family discussing the possibility of running for governor of North Carolina,” said Congressman Shuler. “This time of reflection and prayer gave us the opportunity to talk about the best course of action for us as a family moving forward. It was during this time that I reached the decision not to seek re-election to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2012.”
According Shuler, the choice not to seek another term in the U.S. House of Representatives was neither a hasty nor an easy decision to make. While still standing for the people of Western North Carolina, Shuler plans to take this opportunity to spend more time with his wife Nikol, and two children, Island and Navy. “This was not an easy decision. However, I am confident that it is the right decision. It is a decision I have weighed heavily over the past few months. I have always said family comes first, and I never intended to be a career politician. I am ready to refocus my priorities and spend more time at home with my wife Nikol and two young children,” said Shuler.
The redistricting lines drastically changed the 11th congressional district, which caused most of Asheville to be moved into the 10th district. Shuler's district is now considered one of the most republican districts in North Carolina. “I have experienced no greater honor than serving the people of North Carolina's 11th Congressional District over the past five years. I am proud of the work that my office has done to give Western North Carolina a voice in Congress and make life better for the people who entrusted me with the privilege of representing them in Washington. I am also proud of the work we have accomplished with the Blue Dog Coalition to put our country on a sound fiscal path and promote civility and common-sense solutions amid the divisive, highly-partisan political climate in Washington,” Shuler noted.
Although he is officially announcing his retirement from Congress, Shuler plans to return to Western North Carolina and remain fighting for the people who voted him into office in any way that he can. “Though my time in Congress will come to an end after this year, my work to move our state and country forward will not. Reducing our $15 trillion national debt and crafting bipartisan solutions to the many problems facing our nation remain my highest priorities. Leaving Congress will give me the opportunity to focus my time and energy on these initiatives without the constant demands of a re-election campaign,” said Shuler. “I am grateful for the many close friendships I have made with my colleagues in the Blue Dog Coalition and Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle. I thank the people of Western North Carolina for placing their faith and confidence in me as their elected representative. I thank my colleagues and mentors in Washington who have helped me along the way. Most of all, I want to thank Nikol, Navy, Island, my entire family, friends, supporters, and staff, without whom my career in Congress would not have been possible. May God bless you all and continue to bless Western North Carolina,” he concluded.
With the filing deadline quickly approaching for the May primary, potential candidates have until February 29th to declare their attempt at replacing Congressman Heath Shuler. Multiple Republican candidates are vying for a chance at office, but as of today, Cecil Bothwell is the only Democrat to announce his candidacy.