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Virginia Rep. Frank Wolf Retiring After 34 Years

Image: Virginia Rep. Frank Wolf Retiring After 34 Years

By Drew MacKenzie   |   Tuesday, 17 Dec 2013 02:48 PM

Veteran Republican Rep. Frank Wolf has announced he is retiring from Congress after 17 terms, paving the way for a competitive race for his House seat in Virginia.

Wolf, 74, has easily held his seat in the north Virginia suburbs since he took office in 1981, but his departure will open up an opportunity for Democrats in the midterm elections next year, according to The Hill.

Although Mitt Romney carried his district by just one percentage point in last year's presidential election, Wolf beat his Democratic opponent by 19 points.

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On announcing his retirement, Wolf said that he planned to continue his work as an advocate of worldwide human rights and religious freedom.

"As a follower of Jesus, I am called to work for justice and reconciliation, and to be an advocate for those who cannot speak for themselves," said Wolf, who was the first member of Congress to visit the troubled Darfur region of Sudan and has spoken out in defense of oppressed groups such as Tibetans and Kurds.

In recent months, Wolf has been an outspoken critic of the Obama administration's reaction to the attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi, Libya, last year, and has demanded a full investigation into the terrorist action that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others.

"I plan to focus my future work on human rights and religious freedom — both domestic and international — as well as matters of the culture and the American family. My passion for these issues has been influenced by the examples of President Ronald Reagan, former Congressmen Jack Kemp and Tony Hall, Chuck Colson, and the life of 18th century Member of Parliament William Wilberforce."

Wolf, Virginia's longest-serving congressman, ended months of speculation about his future when he declared on Tuesday, "I have decided not to seek re-election to the U.S. Congress in 2014. It has been an honor to serve the people of Northern Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley. I thank my constituents for giving me the privilege of representing them in Congress for 34 years.

"I want to thank the many excellent former and current members of my staff who have helped me serve the people of the 10th District. I am also grateful to my wife, Carolyn, and my family, who have faithfully stood by me all these many years."

The Republican candidates expected to line up to replace Wolf include former Alabama Rep. Artur Davis, who has moved to Virginia and switched allegiance to the GOP, Virginia Delegates Barbara Comstock and Tim Hugo, and Virginia state Sen. Jill Vogel, The Hill reported.

In a district that has become increasingly purple in tone, Fairfax County Supervisor John Foust has already announced that he will run for the Democratic nomination.

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