IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Democratic Rep. G.K. Butterfield says he won't seek re-election

The long-time lawmaker is the third congressional Democrat this week to announce retirement plans.
Image: G.K Butterfield
Rep. G.K. Butterfield, D-N.C., conducts a news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center on April 23, 2020.Tom Williams / CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images file

Rep. G.K. Butterfield, D-N.C., said Thursday he will not seek re-election in 2022, making him the third Democratic member of Congress this week to announce retirement plans.

Butterfield, a prominent member of the Congressional Black Caucus and former CBC chair, was first elected to the House in 2004. Recent redistricting in North Carolina means he would have faced a tougher road to re-election.

The 74-year-old lawmaker's announcement comes as a number of long-serving Democrats are calling it quits at a time when the party is preparing for an uphill battle to keep control of Congress in next year's midterm elections. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., both announced this week that they would not seek another congressional term.

Additionally, fellow North Carolina Democrat Dave Price said in October he would not run again next year. About another half-dozen Democrats in the House have also said they won't return to Congress for another term.

Butterfield, who won re-election last year with 54 percent of the vote, has been an outspoken civil rights advocate and supporter of same-sex marriage, universal health care and women’s rights during his time in Congress. He voted against the Marriage Protection Act of 2004 and opposed attempts to use constitutional amendments to define marriage between a man and a woman.

In 2010, Butterfield voted for the repeal of the military policy known as Don't Ask, Don't Tell. He has also voted to ban job discrimination based on sexual orientation.

On reproductive rights, the abortion rights group NARAL Pro-Choice America has consistently given Butterfield a 100 percent rating for his voting record.

He is a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, the main health policy panel in the House.

Before coming to Washington, Butterfield was a Superior Court judge in North Carolina, a justice on the state Supreme Court and a civil rights lawyer.