Rep. John Sarbanes (D-MD) announced Thursday he will not seek reelection in 2024.
“Announcing today that I won’t be running for reelection in 2024. There are many ways to serve. It will be 18 years doing that in Congress, but looking forward to a new chapter of service. Still have 14 months left in my term and will finish strong,” Sarbanes said.
Announcing today that I won’t be running for reelection in 2024. There are many ways to serve. It will be 18 years doing that in Congress, but looking forward to a new chapter of service. Still have 14 months left in my term and will finish strong. See my statement here ⬇️
— Rep. John Sarbanes (@RepSarbanes) October 26, 2023
“I believe in public service. My siblings and I grew up with the teaching that there are many ways to serve. Being in Congress is one of them — a truly humbling opportunity to make a difference. But before coming to Congress, I also found great reward in working with nonprofits, volunteering and otherwise contributing to my community. That too is a powerful form of public service. For some time now, I have found myself drawn back to that kind of work — wanting to explore the many opportunities to serve that exist outside of elected office. With that in mind, I have decided not to seek re-election in 2024,” Sarbanes stated in a press release.
— The Washington Times (@WashTimes) October 27, 2023
From Sarbanes’ press release:
Stepping away from Congress voluntarily — whether it’s at the eighteen-year mark as in my case or at any point — is not an easy thing. Because the stakes of what we do are so high and because we trust in our value to the team, the case can always be made to press on to the next election. Our country faces many challenges right now, but the Democratic caucus that will carry forward into the next Congress and beyond has a strength and unity of purpose that bodes well for the future. Our new leadership is making all the right moves to bring Democrats back into the majority in January 2025. It makes me hopeful about America’s prospects at this moment when I am pivoting in a new direction.
Looking back on my nine terms in Congress, I feel an enormous sense of gratitude and accomplishment. These have been among the most rewarding years of my professional life, working with dedicated staff and amazing colleagues — especially the outstanding Maryland delegation — on the most pressing issues of our time. In my office, we’ve done good work to expand school based health services, strengthen outdoor environmental education, provide public service loan forgiveness and protect the Chesapeake Bay for generations to come. Over the next fourteen months, I’ll continue to focus on those issues and others as well as the critical responsibility of providing timely and responsive constituent service.
— Roll Call (@rollcall) October 27, 2023
Maryland Matters reports:
Sarbanes had once been considered a potential future candidate for U.S. Senate, where his father, Paul Sarbanes once served. That seat is currently held by Sen. Ben Cardin (D), who is also not seeking re-election in 2024.
But in recent reports, Sarbanes appeared to be winding down his fundraising efforts. He raised just $2,000 in the second quarter of this year.
Since he was first elected in 2006 to succeed Cardin — who succeeded his father in the upper chamber — the younger Sarbanes has been a leading voice for campaign finance reform in Congress.
“Congressman Sarbanes was never in politics for money or power or access. He answered the call to service and used his time in Congress to make a difference. No matter what he was doing, when we hit a snag, he was only a phone call away. He never gave up,” said Tiffany Muller, president of the advocacy groups End Citizens United and Let America Vote. “There would be no democracy movement without Congressman Sarbanes. Long before it was the cause du jour, he was there, pouring his heart and soul into strengthening our democracy and putting power back into the hands of the people.”
In the previous Congress, Sarbanes was the lead sponsor of H.R. 1, the For the People Act, a sweeping political reform package that addressed everything from voters’ rights to partisan gerrymandering to campaign finance reform. It passed the House but stalled in the Senate.
In July, Sarbanes and Democratic colleagues reintroduced the bill as the Freedom to Vote Act.