Kentucky's 1st District U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield has announced he is not running for re-election in 2016.
The announcement comes during Whitfield's 11th term representing the 35 counties of Kentucky's 1st Congressional district.
Whitfield's district director Michael Pape tells WKMS News in Murray he will be seeking the Republican nomination to fill the seat.
Pape, 47, has been with the administration "since day 1" when Whitfield took office in 1994.
Pape says a recent ethic investigation regarding the Congressman did not factor into his decision to not run again.
Whitfield's office released the following statement regarding his decision not to run again:
“Representing the people of the 1st District for 21 years has been an honor,” said Whitfield. “I will cherish forever the countless opportunities to work with them to nurture and strengthen the 35 counties comprising Kentucky’s First District.
“Among many memorable achievements, I am particularly proud of helping to establish the Federal Health Benefit Program for employees of the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant; creating a National Forest at Land between the Lakes; providing much needed funding for our troops at Fort Campbell; promoting the utilization of our abundant fossil fuels; and ensuring the humane treatment of animals.
“My staff in Kentucky and Washington D.C. has been superb. Their commitment to excellence allowed me to serve the people of the 1st District to the best of my ability.
“I want to thank my colleagues in the U.S. House and Senate for the many courtesies they extended to me. To Connie, my wife, my heartfelt thanks for her resilience and her many contributions. I also thank my mother for her unwavering support.
“While many Americans are frustrated with the institution of Congress, I still believe that politics is a worthy vocation and I know many men and women of character will always be willing to serve.
"Winston Churchill once said, 'We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give. Politics is and will always be an honorable way to serve.”
Monday, an article published at the Lexington Herald-Leader's website speculated that Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture James Comer - a 1st District native - might be interested in running for Whitfield's seat "if it ever comes available." Comer ran unsuccessfully this year for the Republican gubernatorial nomination, losing to Matt Bevin by 83 votes.