Virginia moderate Republican to retire; opens Dem target

Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) has announced he will retire at the end of his term. Wolf is well respected and considered one of the last moderates in the House GOP.

This sets up what will likely be a competitive race in Northern Virginia for a swing seat Democrats hope to flip. The district went for Romney 50%-49% in 2012 and 51%-48% for Obama in 2008.

Democrats need to pick up 17 seats for control of the House, counting tonight's likely win for Republican Bradley Byrne in the special election to replace Republican Jo Bonner in Alabama's first congressional district. 

There will be a special election Jan. 14 for the vacancy in the 13th congressional district in Florida to replace the late Republican Bill Young, another 50-50 district Obama won twice. 

"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," Wolf said, in part, in a statement announcing his retirement. "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 10th century Member of Parliament William Wilberforce."