Arkansas Rep. Marion Berry (D) on Monday officially announced his retirement, citing health reasons.

Berry, 67, became the sixth Democrat in a competitive race to announce his retirement in the last couple of months. It was first reported Sunday that Berry, who has been in Congress since 1996, would retire.


"As a lifelong farmer, time has taken its toll on my health and I am no longer able to serve the district with the vitality I once possessed," said Berry in a statement. "Therefore, I have decided not to seek reelection in 2010."

Berry said he was at "perfect peace" with his decision. 

But Republicans in Washington were clamoring over the latest Democratic retirement; the first since Republican Scott Brown won the Massachusetts special Senate election last Tuesday.

"The message coming out of the Massachusetts special election is clear: No Democrat is safe," said National Republican Congressional Committee communications director Ken Spain on Sunday. "In the aftermath of Scott Brown's victory this past week, it has become evident to Democrats that to run for reelection in this toxic political environment is to ensure defeat at the ballot box in November."

House Republican Leader John Boehner (Ohio) also felt emboldened on Monday, saying that his party aims to run a candidate in every congressional race this fall. 

Most Democrats have downplayed the recent spat of retirements and Brown's win. They say that the circumstances surrounding Brown's victory partially had to do with opponent Martha Coakley's (D) weak campaign. 

They have also argued that Republican retirements could hamper their ability to make gains on Democrats.

14 House Republicans have announced they will retire as opposed to 12 Democrats.