Washington (CNN) – Rep. Bill Young of Florida, the longest-serving Republican member of the House, will not run for re-election in 2014, Harry Glenn, Young's chief of staff, told CNN.
The Tampa Bay Times was the first to report Young's retirement after the longtime congressman told his local paper that his family, the job and his health were all factors in his retirement.
"It's my time," Young told the Times in a phone interview. As to why he is retiring now, Young said, "I don't know that I would pick out one thing. It's a lot of things."
Among them, Young said, is his disappointment with congressional gridlock. "I'm a little disappointed. It seems there's too much politics. It's a different Congress," he told the Times.
Young, currently in his 22nd congressional term, was first elected to the House in November 1970. In total, after serving 10 years in the Florida State Senate and 43 years in the House, Young has spent more than half a century in elected office. He has served with a total of eight presidents.
During his tenure, Young has been heralded for his expertise on defense issues – and chaired both the full House Appropriations committee and its defense subcommittee during his time on Capitol Hill.
"Many of us have looked up to Bill as a mentor, friend and role model, and as a result, he is widely respected and admired among his colleagues," said Rep. Greg Walden, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, in a statement.
Democrats, on the other hand, used Young's announcement to knock House Republicans and Speaker John Boehner for the current government shutdown and gridlock in Washington.
"The departure of the most senior House Republican should serve as a wake-up call to Speaker Boehner and House Republicans: if they continue to cave to the Tea Party's radical demands and threaten the country's financial stability, they will see even their own Members jump off their sinking ship," Rep. Steve Israel, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said in a release.
The congressman's retirement could have ramifications for control of the GOP dominated House in next year's midterm elections. The Democrats need to win back 17 Republican held seats to regain control of the chamber.
While Young grabbed 58% of the vote in his re-election last year, President Barack Obama won the district, carrying 52% of the vote. Obama also won the district in the 2008 election, grabbing 54% of the vote.
Before his retirement, two of the top non-partisan political handicappers, the Cook Political Report and the Rothenberg Political Report, said Young was likely to keep his seat in 2014. But with word of Young's retirement, Cook is moving the district from "likely Republican" to "tossup" and Rothenberg tells CNN they are re-evaulting the race.
Republicans only have a slight partisan edge in the Tampa Bay-St. Pete area district, according to Cook, and it is expected that next year's race will bring out challengers from the left and the right.
As for what Young, 82, plans to do after he leave Congress in 2014, he told to the Times with a chuckle: "I guess I've got to get another job."
"I've served in the Congress but I've never made a lot of money," he said. "My financial situation isn't much different than when I came to Congress."
CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this story