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October 1, 2023

Rep. Brenda Lawrence becomes 25th House Democrat not to seek re-election

Rep. Brenda Lawrence becomes 25th House Democrat not to seek re-election

Rep. Brenda Lawrence, D-Mich., announced Tuesday that she will retire from Congress at the end of her term, making her the 25th House Democrat to decide not to seek re-election in 2022.

Lawrence represents Michigan’s 14th Congressional District, which includes a slice of Detroit and over a dozen cities in Oakland and Wayne counties. She has served in the House since 2015. Her term ends in January 2023.

“This year marks my 30th year in elected public service, and I’ve had the good fortune of serving Michiganders on the local and national level,” Lawrence, 67, said in a video on Twitter. “After reflecting on my journey & having conversations with my family, I’m announcing that I will not be seeking re-election to Congress.”

Before she went to Congress, Lawrence was the mayor of Southfield for 13 years. She was the first Black person and the first woman to hold the position. She also served on the Southfield City Council and its school board.

Lawrence’s retirement was first reported by The Detroit News.

A wave of House Democrats are not seeking re-election as the party faces considerable headwinds less than a year before the midterm elections, when the president’s party typically loses seats. Democrats hold a slim majority in the House, and Republicans are growing increasingly confident that they will win control of the chamber in November.

Michigan’s 14-member congressional delegation is evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans, but the state is losing a House seat based on the 2020 census results. The state’s redistricting commission approved new congressional maps for the state’s 13 House districts last month. Lawrence’s seat is likely to become highly competitive.

“As we have a new redistricting map, a new generation of leaders will step up. We need to make sure our elected officials, in Michigan and across this country, look like our communities,” Lawrence said in Tuesday’s video. “It is not lost on me that I’m currently the only Black member of the Michigan congressional delegation— in both the U.S. House and Senate. So, whether it’s in the halls of Congress, city halls or local school boards, representation matters.”

Dartunorro Clark covers politics, including the Covid-19 recovery, for NBC News.

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