WASHINGTON, Jan. 14 (UPI) -- U.S. Rep. Bill Owens, D-N.Y., said he is retiring from Congress and will not seek re-election to his swing district in November.
Owens won the seat in a special election in 2009 after New York Gov. David Paterson appointed then-Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand to fill the state's vacant Senate seat.
The district, which covers the vast, largely rural portion of northern New York's Adirondack mountains, is considered a prime pickup opportunity for Republicans, The Hill reported Tuesday.
Owens, a centrist Democrat, said in a statement he plans to "continue to focus on helping to improve the lives of all New Yorkers, primarily through job creation and economic development" once he leaves office at the end of the year.
Former George W. Bush aide Elise Stefanik tops the list of Republicans who have announced plans to run for the seat.