GOP Rep. Jerry Lewis to retire from House

Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.), the former chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, will retire at the end of this term, he announced on Thursday.

Lewis, a 17-term lawmaker from southern California, was pushed into a Democratic-leaning district by the state's bipartisan redistricting commission, and faced a tough fight for reelection. 

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He also has lost power in the House: Republican leaders denied his bid for a waiver to return as Appropriations chairman when the GOP won back the House majority. Conservatives were unhappy with his previous support of earmarks, and the chairmanship went to Kentucky Rep. Hal Rogers instead.

Lewis's retirement comes on the same day that Democrats got a strong recruit in the district: Redlands Mayor Pete Aguilar announced this morning that he would run for the seat.

"After months of consultation with loved ones and family, my wife Arlene and I have decided to retire from public life," Lewis said in a statement. "We are deeply grateful to so many who have provided their support over the years. I have worked hard to justify that support. Thank you all and may God continue to bless America."


Lewis's retirement might make things easier for another powerful southern California Republican to return to the House — Rep. David Dreier, the head of the House Rules Committee, has been left without a good district to run in because of redistricting, and has considered running in Lewis's district if Lewis retired, according to a California Republican familiar with his thinking.