Rep. Gallegly to retire

Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-Calif.) has announced he will not seek reelection in 2012, and will instead retire after 25 years in Congress.

In a statement issued Saturday, Gallegly said he and his wife had decided "now was the right time to begin the next chapter in our lives."

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Working with our country’s leadership on a daily basis in striving to move toward a better, stronger and more vibrant America for more than two decades has been a dream come true," he said in a statement, according to the Ventura Country Star. "The decision to step aside at this time did not come lightly."

Gallegly did not mention it in his statement, but redistricting likely played a role in his decision to step aside. After California's legislature drew up new congressional maps, Gallegly found his home residing in the district currently held by Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), who chairs the House Armed Services Committee.

Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Tex.), who chairs the National Republican Congressional Committee, praised Gallegly for his decades of service.

"The House of Representatives will miss Elton’s service, expertise and experience as he concludes his congressional work after this Congress," he said in a statement. "I wish Elton, his wife Janice and their family all the best."

Gallegly is the vice chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, and heads the Judiciary Committee's subcommittee on immigration, where he has carved out a niche as a strong opponent of illegal immigration.