WASHINGTON (dpa-AFX) - Minnesota Congressman Rick Nolan, D-Minn., announced Friday he will not seek re-election this fall, providing Republicans with an opportunity to retake his seat.
In a statement, Nolan described the decision to retire as 'agonizing' but said he wants to spend more time with his wife and family.
Nolan said he was hopeful the timing of his announcement would provide prospective candidates with ample opportunity to present themselves to voters and activists.
'Fortunately, we are blessed to have a number of highly qualified people who have demonstrated the ability to win tough elections and govern effectively,' Nolan said.
He added, 'With hard work and a broad base of support, one of them will win the seat, and serve with distinction in the next Congress.'
Republicans had already been targeting Nolan's seat, as President Donald Trump won the district by double digits in 2016.
Matt Gorman, communications director at the National Republican Congressional Committee, said the seat was already one of the GOP's best pickup opportunities.
'Rick Nolan, too liberal and out of step with his deep red district, saved us the trouble of defeating him this fall,' Gorman said in a statement.
He added, 'We currently have one of the strongest recruits in the country, Pete Stauber, in the race who's garnering strong local support.'
Meanwhile, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Ben Ray Luján, D-N.M., expressed confidence the seat would remain in Democratic hands.
'Minnesota's Eighth Congressional District is a Democratic seat, and that certainly will not change in 2018,' Luján said.
He added, 'We look forward to electing another Democrat to represent the hardworking people of northern Minnesota, who can carry on Rick's legacy.'
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