Congressman Ed Whitfield will step down early, special election to be held on Election Day

08/31/2016 05:28 PM

U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield announced Wednesday that he will resign effective 6 p.m. Sept. 6.

Whitfield, a Hopkinsville Republican who has served in Congress for nearly 22 years and did not seek re-election this cycle, alerted Gov. Matt Bevin and House Speaker Paul Ryan of his decision.

In his letter to Bevin, Whitfield said that it has been an honor and a privilege to represent the constituents of the 1st Congressional District.

Nov. 8 will double as the general election and special election for the seat, which is being contested by Republican Jamie Comer, the state’s former agriculture commissioner, and Democrat Sam Gaskins. Bevin announced the special election in a news release Wednesday.

“Both personally and on behalf of the Commonwealth, I want to thank Congressman Ed Whitfield for his many years of service to our state and our nation,” the governor said in a statement. “He has served the people of Kentucky’s first district admirably, and we wish him all the very best in the years ahead.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the outgoing congressman “served the people of Kentucky’s First District with distinction.”

“During his tenure in Congress, Ed has fought hard for the people of western Kentucky and it has been an honor working alongside him on a variety of issues, including our support for the workers at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant and for the men and women serving our country stationed at Fort Campbell,” McConnell said in a statement.

Whitfield, who was rebuked by the House Ethics Committee in July for improper lobbying contact between his wife and his staff on anti-soring legislation that he sponsored, plans to announce his future plans within the next 30 days, according to a release from his office.

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