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Key battleground state Dem announcement stuns political world: 'Big surprise'

In a surprise announcement, longtime Democratic Rep. Annie Kuster of New Hampshire says she won’t seek re-election to the House of Representatives this year.

CONCORD, N.H. – In a surprise announcement, longtime Democratic Rep. Annie Kuster of New Hampshire says she won’t seek re-election to the House of Representatives this year.

"I always said I was not going to stay in Congress forever – I will not be seeking re-election in 2024," the six-term representative in the key general election battleground state said in a statement released on Wednesday.

Kuster, an attorney and lobbyist with clients in the health care and pharmaceutical industry before winning election to the House in 2012, highlighted that her tenure in Congress "has been many things – rewarding, frustrating, inspiring, and challenging. But, more than anything, it has been an honor."


During her years on Capitol Hill, Kuster became known for working across the aisle on key issues, and for her openness in sharing personal experiences, including that she was a survivor of sexual assault during her youth. 

Kuster's announcement ignited surprised reactions across the political sphere and the media Wednesday morning on social media.

"Wow. I think Kuster might be the last member still in office who I helped get elected when I worked at the DCCC in 2012," Josh Schwerin, a longtime Democratic political operative, posted on X.

"Wow!" Michael LaRosa, a former spokesman for first lady Jill Biden, posted on X.

"Big surprise out of New Hampshire this morning – Democratic Rep. Annie Kuster won’t seek reelection, opening up NH-02," one Politico reporter posted on X.

"Wow. Rep. Kuster is Chair of New Dems, one of the largest Democratic caucuses in the House," an AP reporter posted on X. "The number of retirements in the House just continues to multiply."

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., praised Kuster as a "friend of mine" and said she "has been a tremendous source of strength to me and countless others in the House Democratic Caucus family."

"She will be sorely missed in the next Congress. I wish her and her family the best in this new chapter," he added.

Kuster represents New Hampshire’s 2nd Congressional District, which covers the western half of the state from the border with Massachusetts north to the border with Canada. Concord and many of the surrounding communities are represented by Kuster. 

It’s likely several Democrats will step forward in the days and weeks ahead to try and succeed Kuster in a district that leans blue.

Kuster may play a key role in the battle to succeed her, but she steered clear of such discussion in her statement.

"I will continue serving the people of New Hampshire until the end of my term in January 2025. In the months ahead, I will use my time to help Congress build on the progress we have made and finish the job for the American people," Kuster said.

Republicans aim to defend their razor-thin House majority in November's elections.

The GOP currently holds a 218-213 majority in the House of Representatives.

Get the latest updates from the 2024 campaign trail, exclusive interviews and more at our Fox News Digital election hub.

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