U.S. Rep. Steve Israel, a member of the Democratic leadership in Congress, has announced he will not seek reelection this fall, ending an eight-term career in Washington.
The Long Island Congressman said he planned to continue in some form of public service, but didn’t elaborate.
“It is time for me to pursue new passions and develop new interests, mainly spend more time writing my second novel,” Israel said.
Israel, who grew up in heavily Jewish Levittown, has mostly served as a loyal lieutenant to House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi.
He has led the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee since 2011, with uneven results. The Democrats picked up eight seats in the 2012 elections but lost 13 in the 2014 midterm elections.
Israel’s district is split between Democrats and Republicans, but voted twice for President Barack Obama.
His retirement could set off a rush for a rare open seat in a competitive district.