Updated: Moran announces retirement

Updated: Moran announces retirement

By Erich Wagner (File photo)

Longtime Congressman Jim Moran (D-8) will step down at the end of his term.

The announcement from Moran’s office came early Wednesday morning. In a statement, the congressman thanked his supporters, friends and family for keeping him motivated since taking office in 1990.

But Moran said he’s looking forward to tackling new challenges.

“After 35 years as a public servant, as mayor of Alexandria and for the past 23 [years] as a member of the House of Representatives, it’s time to close this chapter of my life and move on to the next challenge,” he said. “It’s been an honor to represent Northern Virginia. I couldn’t be more fortunate to have spent my career working with such wonderful people trying to make this one of the best places in the world to live, work and raise a family.”

The news has Mayor Bill Euille considering a run at the seat, which is up for grabs in November.

“I will seriously consider being a candidate,” Euille said. “I have to caucus with my political team and make that call. I suspect there will be a slew of other prospective candidates, so I’ll have to be calling around, checking with my base and talking to other political leaders in the region to see where my support is.”

Euille expects to make a formal announcement regarding his candidacy within the next few weeks.

Geoff Skelley, an analyst with the University of Virginia Center for Politics, said that whenever a political fixture like Moran retires, there’s a logjam of other officials waiting in the wings. Since the district is a Democratic stronghold — President Barack Obama won the area with 68 percent of the vote in 2012 — expect a stacked primary ballot in June, he said.

“I think you’ll see a fair number of people who are already elected officials in the General Assembly, as well as local officials and maybe even some unelecteds who have some connection to Moran,” Skelley said. “There could be a very large number of possibilities. … You could have someone win the primary in the 20- to 30- percent range and then hold onto the seat for another 20 or more years.”

Moran, who returned to the Del Ray neighborhood in recent years, was elected to Alexandria City Council in 1979. He became mayor in 1984 and held that position until he successfully ran for U.S. Congress.

City Councilor Del Pepper, who served with Moran when he was mayor, was shocked and disappointed to hear the news of his retirement. She said the congressman has always been a champion for his hometown.

“You know how you get letters saying, ‘Please contact your congressman for support,’” Pepper said. “We didn’t have to, because he was already out there. On any good cause, you’d look and there was Jim Moran, out there fighting for it in meaningful ways.”

Moran is the ranking member of the U.S. House of Representatives appropriations interior subcommittee while also serving on the defense appropriations subcommittee.