Forty-eight hours after veteran Democrat Rep. John Yarmuth announced he would not seek reelection in 2022, the question of "why" was rampant from Washington to Yarmuth’s hometown of Louisville, Kentucky.
One possible reason is that House Budget Committee Chairman Yarmuth — a centrist Democrat in the mold of Joe Biden — was facing a spirited challenge from progressive state Rep. Attica Scott.
Three-term lawmaker Scott, who seeks to be the Bluegrass State’s first Black woman in Congress, is known as a fierce foe of police brutality.
In many ways, her candidacy against Yarmuth closely resembles that of Missouri’s Cori Bush, a Black Lives Matter activist who ousted 20-year Democrat Rep. William L. Clay, Jr. in the 2020 primary.
In announcing his retirement, Yarmuth did not mention the challenge he faced from Scott but instead cited his age, 73, and the desire to spend more time with his recently-born grandson.
With a lifetime American Conservative Union rating of 3% and 100% from Americans for Democratic Action, the onetime publisher of the alternate newsweekly Louisville Eccentric Observer (LEO) Yarmuth was certainly no conservative.
"I would call him a pragmatic progressive," Al Cross, longtime political editor for the Louisville Courier-Journal, told Newsmax. "Committee chairmen are just in charge of getting things done."
With Yarmuth out, Scott will almost certainly not get a free ride, however. The congressman’s son Aaron Yarmuth, who recently sold the LEO to the Ohio-based Euclid Media Group, told reporters "I certainly am considering it [a race for his father’s 3rd District]."
State Senate Democratic Leader Morgan McGarvey, who has championed abortion and legalizing marijuana, announced his candidacy shortly after Yarmuth said he was leaving.
With Yarmuth’s 3rd District the only one in Kentucky held by Democrats, Republicans are expected to carve it and could possibly make a new district that favors a Republican. Under such circumstances, the most-favored Republican would be conservative state Sen. Julie Raque Adams.
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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