This story originally published online at N.C. Policy Watch

North Carolina Congressman G.K. Butterfield (NC-01) formally announced on Thursday that he will not seek re-election in 2022.

The Wilson Democrat, who has represented the first congressional district for nearly 18 years, blamed the latest round of redistricting by legislative Republicans in Raleigh.

“The map that was recently enacted by the legislature is a partisan map,” said Butterfield in a video statement. “It is racially gerrymandered. It will disadvantage African American communities all across the first congressional district.”

Butterfield, 74, said he is terribly disappointed by the Republican legislature for putting party politics ahead of the interest of North Carolinians.

“It is time for me to retire and pass the torch to someone who shares the values of the district.”

Butterfield, the former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, said he remains hopeful that the courts will overturn the newly enacted congressional maps.

Rep. David Price (NC-04), dean of the state’s congressional delegation, was quick to praise Butterfield’s service.

“I receive news of his retirement with mixed emotions, but with wholehearted respect and gratitude for his years of distinguished service on the bench and, for the last sixteen years, as a colleague in the U.S. House of Representatives. G. K. is a visionary leader, a master of the art of politics, and a valued friend.”

Price announced his own plans for retirement in October.

Congresswoman Deborah Ross (NC-02) said Butterfield’s leadership has guided her own public service.

“Starting as a young man organizing voter registration marches in North Carolina, Congressman Butterfield has always been a bold champion for voting rights and civil rights,” Ross said. “At this critical moment for our democracy, our state and our nation will miss his powerful moral leadership.”

Click below to watch Congressman Butterfield’s retirement announcement.

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