Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, longtime Maryland Democrat, to retire from Congress

FILE - U.S. Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Md., speaks at a news conference at the Port of Baltimore, March 21, 2022, in Baltimore. Ruppersberger announced Friday, Jan. 26, 2024, that he won’t seek a 12th term in Congress. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)

TIMONIUM, Md. (AP) — Maryland U.S. Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger announced Friday that he won’t seek a 12th term in Congress, meaning that at least three of the state's eight U.S. House seats will be open on the November ballot.

The 77-year-old Democrat, who has represented the 2nd District since 2003, said in a video message that he will retire. His district includes parts of Baltimore County, Carroll County and the city of Baltimore.

“This election my name will not be on the ballot,” Ruppersberger said in a statement. “I’ve decided to retire to spend more time with my family. I want to thank them for all the sacrifices they have made over the years allowing me to serve our great community."

As the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee from 2011 to 2015, Ruppersberger used to be a member of the “Gang of Eight,” a group of congressional leaders that receives the most sensitive intelligence information. During his time on the committee, that included briefings on the 2011 killing of Osama bin Laden and the 2012 Benghazi attacks that killed four Americans in Libya.

Ruppersberger currently serves on the House Appropriations Committee and is a defense subcommittee member.

He said his decision to retire was difficult because Congress needs members like him "who care more about constituents and our country and less about cable news hits,”

"But it is time to pass the torch to a younger generation of leaders and I am looking forward to spending more time with my family," he said.

Before his run for Congress, the Baltimore native served two terms as Baltimore County executive and on the county council.

In Maryland, Democrats hold seven of the state's eight U.S. House seats, both Senate seats, as well as the offices of governor, secretary of state, attorney general and both chambers of the state legislature.

The 2nd District opening isn't the only one for Maryland's House delegation. In May, Rep. David Trone, a Democrat who represents the 6th District, announced a run for the U.S. Senate after Sen. Ben Cardin announced his retirement. Rep. John Sarbanes, a Democrat who has represented the 3rd District since 2007, announced in October that he won’t seek reelection and will return to other areas of public service.