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Veteran Washington Democrat to retire from Congress

Veteran Democratic Rep. Norm Dicks (Wash.) announced Friday that he wouldn't seek re-election after 18 terms in Congress.

"I am announcing today my intention to complete my service in the House of Representatives at the end of the current session but not to be a candidate for re-election to the 113th Congress," Dicks said Friday in a statement.

He added: " I am proud that many of these friendships have crossed the ideological and party lines that tend to separate us, and I have always believed that we can achieve greater results if we leave politics aside when the election season and the floor debates are over."

"Norm has spent his career working to protect our national security, championing the men and women of our Armed Forces and fighting for the many natural resources of Washington State and the Pacific Northwest," President Obama said in a statement. Norm’s dedication to our nation’s intelligence personnel and his leadership on the Appropriations Committee will be missed in Congress and Michelle and I wish him and family well in the future. 

Dicks's seat is generally considered safe for Democrats, though the open seat may make for a more competitive challenge by Republicans.

More significant may be the election on Capitol Hill to succeed Dicks as the top Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, the panel which controls government spending. Dicks's announcement sparked a quick inside battle among Democrats to succeed the Washington congressman. Ohio Rep. Marcy Kaptur, a Democrat locked in a primary challenge against fellow Rep. Dennis Kucinich, is the second-ranking Democrat on the panel.