[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/03/05/art.delahunt.gi.jpg caption =" Congressman Delahunt is announcing his retirement."]
Washington (CNN) Massachusetts Rep. William Delahunt will announce Friday that he will not seek an eighth term, the 18th Democrat who has decided to leave the House at the close of the 111th Congress.
Delahunt's long-rumored decision to retire was first reported late Thursday evening by The Boston Globe , and subsequently confirmed by the senior senator from Massachusetts and the congressman's spokesman.
Sen. John Kerry, D-Massachusetts, released a statement praising his colleague shortly after the Globe story was posted on its Web site.
"This departure leaves a void because Bill Delahunt is an incredibly strong voice for Massachusetts in Washington," Kerry said in the statement.
It is unclear who or how many Democrats will seek to succeed Delahunt in the congressional district that stretches from Boston all the way down to Cape Cod. Newly-minted Republican Sen. Scott Brown won this congressional district in the January special election to fill the late Sen. Edward Kennedy's seat.
Among Republicans, former Massachusetts Treasurer Joe Malone is said to be mulling a bid for the seat.
Of the 18 Democrats who are leaving the House, 11 will retire outright and the remaining seven are seeking higher political office. Delahunt is the second Democrat in recent days to announce he is retiring. New York Rep. Eric Massa said earlier in the week that he was leaving when his term ends.
Across the aisle, 19 Republicans are leaving the House at the end of the year, 12 who have decided to run for higher office and seven who are retiring.