"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.