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GOP congressman to retire, giving Democrats a potential pick-up opportunity

Longtime Rep. Bill Young, R-Fla., announced Wednesday he would retire in 2014, immediately giving Democrats a top pick-up opportunity for a seat that’s vexed them for years.

Young, 82, had previously waved off speculation each cycle he was retiring, but told the Tampa Bay Times on Wednesday he wouldn’t seek an 23rd term, citing not just health problems but a growing frustration with gridlock in Congress.

“"I'm a little disappointed. It seems there's too much politics. It's a different Congress,” said the 43-year House veteran.

Young, a longtime appropriator, also has been one of about 20 House Republicans who have said they would back a clean continuing resolution vote to re-open the government in the current budget fight in Washington.

For Democrats, Young has long been a target they haven’t been able to defeat, and an open seat is an immediate opportunity. The Tampa Bay districts broke for President Obama in both 2008 and 2012.

Attorney and former congressional aide Jessica Ehrlich was gearing up for a rematch in 2014, after losing last year to Young by 15 points -- but holding him to 57 percent, his lowest re-election total ever. But Democrats say with the attractive open seat, more are sure to join the fray.