GOP Congressman Jeff Duncan won't run for 8th term in his South Carolina district

Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-S.C., attends a session at the COP28 U.N. Climate Summit, Dec. 9, 2023, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Duncan announced Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2024 he is not running for reelection to an eighth term. (AP Photo/Joshua A. Bickel, file)

ANDERSON, S.C. (AP) — Republican U.S. Rep. Jeff Duncan said Wednesday he will not run for an eighth term in his solidly Republican South Carolina district.

Duncan said he ran for office after the September 2001 terrorist attacks because he wanted to serve his country. The businessman said he felt like he had completed that mission first in the state legislature and later in the U.S. House.

“At some point in a career, one needs to step aside and allow others to bring fresh ideas and abilities into the fight for liberty,” Duncan said in a statement.

Duncan was first elected in 2010. He made energy policy one of his chief concerns, pushing for more nuclear power. He thinks small-scale nuclear reactors need a boost in research and would be the best way to provide more power in the future.

Duncan also started his Faith and Freedom BBQ where he gathered thousands of conservatives in Anderson to hear from key Republicans from across the country.

But Duncan's reputation for conservative family values was diminished last year when his wife filed for divorce, saying the congressman left her and was having a sexual relationship with a lobbyist. She said he had been unfaithful before during their 35-year marriage.

Duncan hasn't talked about the breakup of his marriage, calling it a “difficult and private moment.”

Duncan is one of more than a dozen House Republicans retiring next year or seeking another office.

Filing for November's election begins in March with the primary in June. The last time the seat was open in 2010, it attracted several candidates who remain at the South Carolina Statehouse — Sens. Rex Rice and Richard Cash and Rep. Neal Collins. State Senate Majority Leader Shane Massey also announced a run before pulling out before filing.

Duncan represents South Carolina's Third District, a mostly rural area in the northern and western part of the state that includes Greenwood, Anderson, Edgefield and Easley. A Democrat hasn't won the district since Republican Lindsey Graham flipped the U.S. House seat in 1994.