Washington (CNN) – Michigan Republican Rep. Vern Ehlers said Wednesday he will not run for re-election in November.
Ehlers, 76, who made the announcement from his Grand Rapids district, said he decided to retire after finishing his eighth term so he can spend time with his family.
"While I regret leaving when so much more needs to be done, I know it is time for me to step down. I am in good health, but I recognize that I should complete this chapter of my life. I look forward to spending more time with my wife and my family in Grand Rapids," Ehlers said in a written statement.
Ehlers is the 16th House Republican to announce plans to leave the House either to run for another office or outright retire. So far, 13 House Democrats have decided to retire or run for another office, but Democratic aides expect this number to rise.
The senior Michigan Republican's district was carried very narrowly by Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, in the 2008 presidential race. Political strategists from both parties were quick to say Wednesday they would compete for the seat.
"Voters in the Grand Rapids area have long supported Republican candidates who stand for limited government and pro-growth economic policies, and we are confident that they will continue to do so in November," National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Pete Sessions of Texas, said in a written statement.
Ryan Rudominer, a spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, told CNN, "As this race takes shape we are looking to see a strong Democratic candidate emerge in this district."