WASHINGTON, Jan. 6 (UPI) -- Six-term Rep. Jim Gerlach, R-Pa., announced Monday he won't seek re-election, leaving open a potential swing seat in eastern Pennsylvania.
"It is simply time for me to move on to new challenges and to spend more time with my wife and family," Gerlach, 58, said in a statement to supporters. "This is a tremendously difficult decision because I have had the opportunity to work with a multitude of dedicated public servants throughout the years. Together, we have worked to strengthen our communities and create opportunities for the hard-working families we have been privileged to represent."
The centrist's retirement gives Democrats an opportunity to pick up ground while forcing Republicans to defend a vulnerable open seat, the Hill reported.
Democrats consider businessman Michael Parrish, a Republican-turned-Democrat who already filed to challenge Gerlach, a strong candidate, the Hill said.