(Reuters) - Two veteran Democrats said on Wednesday they would not seek re-election in 2014 for U.S. Congress seats they have each held for 18 years.
The announcements by representatives Mike McIntyre of North Carolina and Carolyn McCarthy of New York, both elected to Congress in 1996, come as Democrats aim to gain a majority in the House of Representatives this year.
McIntyre, 57, faced a tough re-election fight in his eastern North Carolina district, where he won narrowly in 2012 in one of the country’s most expensive races after the district was redrawn to favor Republican candidates.
A rematch of that contest had been expected between McIntyre and his Republican opponent, former state Senator David Rouzer.
“I will be retiring from the U.S. House of Representatives at the end of this term,” McIntyre said in a statement. “My family and I are ready for a new chapter and excited about new opportunities to continue helping North Carolina.”
McCarthy, who won with 62 percent of the vote in 2012, said she had long considered her decision not to seek a 10th term.
“It’s something that I have been thinking about, really, for this last past year,” McCarthy, 70, told Newsday, the newspaper of her home region of Long Island, New York, in a videotaped interview.
She has been getting treatment for lung cancer since June, Newsday said, and she appeared in the video with very short hair.
McCarthy is a prominent advocate for gun control. She decided to run for Congress after her husband, Dennis McCarthy, was killed and their son, Kevin, was injured by a gunman on a Long Island Rail Road commuter train on December 7, 1993. The attack killed six people in all and wounded 19.
In announcing her decision not to seek re-election, McCarthy said other voices for gun control had emerged since the December 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, where a gunman killed 20 schoolchildren and six educators before turning the gun on himself.
“After what happened at Newtown, so many voices came out ... and their voices were so strong,” McCarthy told Newsday, naming former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who survived a gunshot to the head in an Arizona mass shooting three years ago, as two of those voices.
McCarthy said she had completed chemotherapy treatments and remained on medication.
Representatives of her office were not immediately available for comment.
Reporting by Colleen Jenkins and Daniel Trotta; editing by Gunna Dickson