updated 11/23/2009 12:41:17 PM ET 2009-11-23T17:41:17

U.S. Rep. Dennis Moore, the only Democrat in Kansas' congressional delegation, will not seek a seventh term, his staff said Monday.

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Moore — who represents the 3rd District, a heavily Republican district in suburban Kansas City — is expected to finish out his term, which ends in January 2011.

Spokesman Brandon Naylor said Moore would issue a statement later Monday explaining his decision.

Tyler Longpine, spokesman for the Kansas Democratic Party, said the news "didn't blind-side" the party, but he declined to elaborate. He was meeting with Moore's staff Monday morning to learn more about the decision and what it means to Kansas Democrats.

"It's not a complete surprise. He's had a long and distinguished career," said Longpine, who worked on Moore's campaign in 2004.

Moore, 64, was first elected to Congress in 1998 and is a member of the House Financial Services Committee. His district covers Johnson, Wyandotte and a portion of Douglas counties. Moore was the Johnson County district attorney from 1976 to 1988.

He also is a member of the Blue Dog Coalition, a group of moderate and conservative Democrats who push for stricter fiscal responsibility in Congress. Moore voted in favor of the House health care reform bill that passed the chamber earlier this month.

His decision not to seek re-election likely will open a rush by both parties to succeed him. It is the first time since 1996 that an incumbent won't be on the ballot in the district, which favors Republicans in voter registration.

As of Sunday, former state lawmaker Patricia Lightner and two little-known district residents, Daniel Gilyeat and John Rysavy, were the only Republicans actively campaigning.

Moore won re-election in 2008, defeating former state Sen. Nick Jordan of Shawnee with 56 percent of the vote. His margin of victory grew steadily over the years as he turned back challengers, including former Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline in 2000.

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