URBANA — Six-term Illinois Congressman Tim Johnson abandoned his re-election bid on Thursday, leaving his fellow Republicans scrambling to find a replacement and fueling Democrats' hopes of picking up seats and regaining control of the U.S. House.
Johnson, who built a reputation for breaking with his party on certain issues, said he plans to retire when his current term ends. He cited family obligations for the decision.
"One of my grandsons is 2 years old. I have seen him for a total of about 10 minutes. I have another who asked me not long ago if I was ever going to come to one of his ballgames. I didn't have an answer," Johnson said.
The 65-year-old made the announcement in a statement shortly before holding a news conference in his hometown of Urbana, just weeks after his easy primary win over a Republican challenger.