Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.), a longtime leader of the Congressional Black Caucus, won’t seek reelection next year — another blow to Democrats’ efforts to keep control of the House after the midterm elections.
Butterfield, first elected to an Eastern North Carolina congressional seat in 2004, saw his district undergo significant changes in redistricting. Under its current configuration, now-President Joe Biden won by about 9 points there last year, as Butterfield won reelection by a similar margin — the closest of his electoral career.
Republicans in the state legislature shifted the lines to make the seat less Democratic, however, in the new map, which was enacted earlier this month. Biden would only have won the seat by 3 points under the new lines, and the National Republican Congressional Committee has identified the 74-year-old Butterfield as one of its top targets next year.
Democrats are suing over the new map, arguing that it dilutes the influence of Black voters in his district, which is currently divided roughly evenly between white people and Black people. But the party, in the immediate term, will be looking for another candidate to keep the seat in Democratic hands: The filing deadline for the early-March 2022 primary is Dec. 17.
Butterfield’s pending announcement — scheduled for tomorrow, according to his office — was first reported by Spectrum News 1, a local cable-TV outlet in North Carolina, and confirmed by a source familiar with his plans.
Prior to joining Congress, Butterfield was an attorney and Superior Court judge. He was appointed to the state Supreme Court by then-Gov. Mike Easley in 2001.
Butterfield chaired the Congressional Black Caucus from 2015-2017.