By DAVID MERCER
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) -- A Republican Party official says veteran Congressman Tim Johnson intends to drop his bid for a seventh term and retire.
The official told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the 65-year-old Johnson is expected to make an official announcement on Thursday. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the decision hadn't been officially announced.
The reason for Johnson's decision is not clear. He was considered a strong candidate for re-election in November.
Johnson was first elected to Congress in 2000 and usually ran for re-election unopposed.
The Urbana Republican has sometimes taken positions at odds with most members of his party in Congress. He called last year for an end to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and last month endorsed Ron Paul for president.